Chris Wood’s £25m move to Newcastle – pragmatic, opportunistic and weakens Burnley

“It could be a blessing in disguise,” a well-placed source said following Newcastle United’s embarrassing 1-0 home defeat to third-tier Cambridge United in the FA Cup. “It’s focused minds.”

The subsequent actions support that rhetoric. Yasir Al-Rumayyan, Newcastle’s executive vice-chairman, witnessed the defeat and his message was that much-needed reinforcements must be signed. Swiftly.

In Chris Wood, a relegation-battle veteran, one has been delivered. There is nothing sexy about this deal; it is pragmatic, strengthening the most pressing area of Newcastle’s squad while significantly weakening a direct rival.

Eddie Howe, the head coach, wanted Premier League experience, and quickly. The Wood transfer was there to do and Newcastle have done it; that dynamism is precisely what the hierarchy require in this most difficult and important of transfer windows.

“Under Mike Ashley, Newcastle often got caught up chasing ‘the perfect deal’,” an agent says. “This is not ‘the perfect deal’, far from it, but it is a deal they could do and needed to do. That’s what January is all about.”

This move smacks of opportunism and necessity.

Newcastle had been aware that Wood could potentially be extracted from Burnley for a few weeks but, despite Callum Wilson sustaining his calf injury on December 27, with their next two matches postponed, pursuing a centre-back was of primary concern.


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