Christiansen makes huge Leeds striker transfer claim
By Harry Sykes
Leeds United manager Thomas Christiansen has insisted that the club will not cash in on striker Chris Wood this month.
Christiansen told the Yorkshire Evening Post that he had not spoken to Elland Road chiefs about the growing interest in Wood but made it clear that the player will remain at the club after the 31 August transfer cut-off.
This comes amid growing interest in the Championship’s top scorer of last season from the top-flight clubs.
Football Insider revealed on Saturday morning that three Premier League clubs have now tabled formal bids for the New Zealand international.
Brighton and West Brom have joined Burnley in making offers which were each worth £14million, made up of an initial £12million, plus £2million of add-ons.
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Christiansen made his stance clear, which is reportedly shared by owner Andrea Radrizzani, as he explained how critical Wood is to the team’s promotion bid.
“It’s very important,” he told the Yorkshire Evening Post. “There’s no doubt that he’s (not) going to leave.
“They (other clubs) can come in with many bids – of course he’s a good striker – but I want him to stay and if we want to achieve something this season, you cannot sell your best players.
“I haven’t talked to the club about it but I imagine that they are as ambitious as I am. If we want to go up we need to keep the players. We also need to sign good players.
“Last year he was very important, the top scorer, and this season he will be important. He needs to do it on the pitch with good performances and scoring goals. That’s what we expect but he will, for sure, deliver.”
Wood’s future has come under the microscope following his exploits last season, when his 30 goals in all competitions included 27 in the Championship.
The 25-year-old began the new campaign where he left off in 2016-17 with a goal in Leeds’ opening day 3-2 win against Bolton, although he was unable to follow up with another in Saturday’s goal-less draw against 10-man Preston.
Burnley are in the market for a new striker after selling Andre Gray to Premier League rivals Watford earlier this week for a fee of £18million.
Brighton and West Brom are also keen to increase their firepower as they aim to secure their top-flight status.
Wood is under contract at Leeds until the summer of 2019.
Football Insider verdict:
Christiansen’s transfer claim is a hugely significant one given that Leeds are a second-tier club not rolling in cash and the bids from the Premier League could be about to get bigger. The manager might look a bit daft if a desperate big gun chucks in a £25million offer on deadline day. What then? Will Leeds’ stance remain resolute? Or will Radrizzani take one sniff of the money and gleefully accept it for a player who might turn out to be a one-season wonder? That would leave Christiansen in a weakened position and with a massively weakened squad.
In other Leeds United transfer news, Football Insider can exclusively reveal that Thomas Christiansen is lining up a move for a centre-back who is highly regarded and is captain of his club.