Sean Dyche's comments on Burnley's Chris Wood 'replacement' suggest Newcastle made the right call

One of the more interesting January transfer deals in the Premier League saw Chris Wood join Newcastle United from Burnley for £25million.

Wednesday, 13th April 2022, 12:30 pm

It was a Premier League record fee paid for a player in his 30s as the Magpies triggered a release clause The Clarets never envisaged would be met.

But it was a transfer The Magpies deemed necessary as they looked to fill the void left by Callum Wilson.

The move also significantly weakened relegation rivals Burnley by taking away a player who had been their top scorer in each of the previous four seasons.

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Wout Weghorst and Chris Wood (photo: Getty)

But the £25million fee also gave The Clarets a budget to bring in a replacement. And on deadline day they completed the £12million signing of Dutch international Wout Weghorst from Wolfsburg.

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Weghorst arrived with a strong goalscoring pedigree in the Bundesliga having netted 70 goals in 144 appearances while in Germany.

And the move initially seemed like a masterstroke from manager Sean Dyche as he had arguably upgraded on Wood while also making £13million in the process.

Weghorst quickly impressed at Turf Moor with a goal and two assists in his first four starts. Meanwhile, Wood had failed to register a goal or an assist for Newcastle in his first seven appearances.

But the New Zealand international’s selfless attacking displays helped United climb out of relegation danger as they extended their unbeaten run in the top flight to nine games.

And Wood has now scored twice in his last five outings for Newcastle, who have won seven out of the 12 games he has started.

After the initial promise, Burnley and Weghorst have struggled on the pitch. The striker has failed to register a goal or an assist in his last eight matches as Burnley remain entrenched in a relegation battle.

And after hauling Weghorst just 56 minutes into Burnley’s 2-0 defeat at bottom of the table Norwich City, Dyche explained the striker’s recent dry spell in front of goal.

“I think – and it is a positive, but it is a strange thing to mention – Wout is almost too team-bound at the minute,” the Burnley boss said via The Burnley Express.

“We need to get him to focus on him and his game. He is almost thinking of everything and ‘I need to do this for the team, this for the team’, and in an honest, authentic way because that is the type of character he is.

“But maybe it is almost like ‘Okay, stop, standstill – we need to focus on your game and how you can bring yourself to work with the team.’

"I think he is still adjusting to that.”

As Weghorst adjusts to life in England, Wood is slowly but surely starting to find his feet on Tyneside after netting his first St James’s Park goal for Newcastle in Friday's 1-0 win over Wolverhampton Wanderers.

While the transfer is likely to keep dividing opinion – the fact of the matter is Wood arrived at Newcastle when they were below Burnley in the table having played two games more – now they are 10 points clear of The Clarets with seven games remaining.

Providing Newcastle do stay up as expected, the transfer will have served its purpose and should be viewed as a smart piece of business.

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