Newcastle United transfer talks hint at potential arrival
Nottingham Forest are closing in on a deal for Chris Wood – as Newcastle United explore their own options.
The Premier League club are looking to sign the striker on loan with an option to buy in this month’s transfer window.
Wood might not have started as many many league games as he would have liked over the past 12 months, but he’s still performed an important role at the club.
The 31-year-old has deputised for Callum Wilson and Alexander Isak – and started cup games, and Howe – who has often spoken about Wood’s tactical awareness – trusts the 31-year-old, who he signed from Burnley for £25million a year ago.
The statistics bear this out. Wood has featured in all but one of fourth-placed Newcastle’s 19 top-flight games so far this season – and he's scored three goals in all competitions.
Speaking last summer, Howe said: “Chris has a massive part to play (this season). The big thing with Chris when he comes on is also defending set-plays, recovering into midfield positions to help the team. He has that know-how and experience.”
Wood, we know, wasn’t looking to leave the club in this month’s transfer window. The New Zealand international was asked about speculation linking Leeds United, his former club, with him while in Saudi Arabia with Newcastle last month.
“I’m committed here – and want to be here,” said Wood. “I’ve played in every game except one. Whatever capacity it is, I want to be here and help the manager, whichever he sees fit. My future’s definitely here.”
However, Wood – who has his critics on Tyneside – is not certain to still be a United player when this month’s transfer window closes.
Howe has spoken about having a “flexible” approach to this month’s transfer window given the constraints of financial fair play rules.
Speaking early last month, Howe said: “We’re still very flexible in terms of what we’re going to do.”
And, crucially, if moving Wood out on loan would allow him to bring in a player he believes would strengthen his squad overall, then he would sanction the deal.
But given Wood’s importance to the team, it’s inconceivable that he’d be allowed to leave without a replacement or reinforcement coming in.