COMMENT By Harry Sykes
If Leeds were to cash in on Chris Wood this month, they would be a good deal richer but their play-off hopes would depart with him.
The clinical Kiwi spearheaded their promotion bid last season with a goals record that placed him at the top of the Championship pile with 27 strikes and the over-reliance on his forward play ultimately proved the team’s undoing.
No-one else chipped in with more than six goals – defender Kyle Bartley showed most of his teammates how it was done – and the team collapsed in the last month of the campaign.
The Mirror claim that Turkish champions have joined Premier League trio Swansea, Stoke and Southampton in the £20million race for Wood’s signature and have been watching him closely in pre-season.
Leeds must fend off all interest in their big front man. Their hopes of mounting a genuine promotion bid depend upon it.
New attacking midfield signings Esgjan Alioski and Samuel Saiz should eventually take some of the burden off Wood’s shoulders but they are likely to take their time to make a consistent impact in England’s second tier.
Leeds certainly don’t have a striker in the ranks who can be relied upon to be a consistent goal threat. Not at this level.
Marcus Antonsson and Souleymane Doukara were mostly ignored by new manager Thomas Christiansen in the key pre-season matches, while new arrival Caleb Ekuban is a real wild card in the Championship.
For now, life without Wood does not bear thinking about for Leeds.
Owner Andrea Radrizzani must batten down the hatches, ignore all enquiries and keep his key man at least while their play-off hopes are still alive.
In other Leeds United news, the Yorkshire giants have ramped up their interest in signing one of the best left-backs in the Championship.