We all knew this would happen, right?
Chris Wood had an amazing season for United this past year, and with Leeds United missing out on the playoffs, the vultures of the Premier League are starting to circle, looking to pick up a few Championship stars to plug any holes in their lineups as the big boys of Chelsea, Arsenal, etc., grab up and coming players from such teams as Crystal Palace, West Ham United, or Swansea City. With the amount of television money flowing into the Premier League getting even greater starting this year, big money is going to be splashed around, and it’s going to be tempting for teams such as Leeds to sell their star players for big paydays and reinvest in the squad. The management at Leeds must absolutely resist this temptation and hold onto key players such as Chris Wood or Pontus Jansson.
So it’s not surprising to see the Daily Star claim “insider” knowledge that Wood wants to go back to the Premier League, with West Ham, Stoke City, and Southampton all mentioned as possible destinations.
Breaking this “rumor” down a little bit, let’s examine these possible destinations. West Ham is linked to just about any striker these days, and this article is the first to mention that West Ham would be interested in Wood. People that claim to be “in the know” about West Ham have never mentioned Wood’s name. West Ham is not going to be signing Chris Wood, the East London club does all of its transfer business on Sky television and the teenage child of the owner tweets out official club news. If they were interested in Wood, it wouldn’t come from the Daily Star.
Stoke City and Southampton are the other two possible destinations from this “rumor”. Both of which are shaky because while Southampton may be looking for a striker this summer, they are likely to raid one of the other Premier League clubs for a striker, not Leeds. Stoke City recently went through a long, drawn-out saga for the transfer of Sadio Berahino from West Bromwich Albion, and they have plenty of holes to fill other than striker.
The reason that these links are all shaky is because when it comes to Chris Wood going back to the Premier League, the fact is that he barely played on a bad Leicester City team that narrowly avoided relegation in the 2014-15 season. While he’s been terrific for Leeds, unfairly or not, he will not command the kind of transfer fee or wage that would justify a move away from Elland Road. So these kinds of “rumors” feel forced, almost as if someone who would directly benefit from a new contract for Wood being negotiated with the new owner are the source of them.