By Alex Stevens
Leeds must offer Chris Wood a lucrative new contract to avoid him being poached by another club.
That is the verdict of former Elland Road striker Andy Ritchie as he assessed the impact made by one of the Championship’s most prolific strikers.
Wood bore the criticism of supporters during a slow start to the season for player and club but his transformation has matched that of Garry Monk’s team.
The New Zealand international, 25, has scored 20 goals from 30 matches in all competitions, 17 of which have accrued from league encounters, including six in the last four games.
Only Dwight Gayle (20) has scored more times in the Championship this season and Ritchie is convinced that richer clubs will be keeping a close eye on a player now worth more than £10million.
“20 goals for the season is absolutely brilliant at this stage,” wrote Ritchie in his weekly Yorkshire Evening Post column. “And who’s to say he won’t go on and reach potentially 30 goals this season.
“It’s definitely possible, unless he gets injured, and I don’t want to jinx that. Hopefully he has had his injury which was earlier on in the season.
“But he’s showing what he can become and to score 20 goals or more at Championship level is a feat in itself because it’s a tough, tough league. He must be worth double figures now in terms of millions.
“People might just reserve judgment a little bit until the end of the season but I’d be surprised if Leeds hadn’t had any enquiries already.
“He’s not a one-hit wonder, he has had a few goals but this is by far his best season and I think there will be a lot of people scanning him at the moment, I don’t doubt that at all.
“But Leeds have got to make sure they keep him, even if that means maybe opening talks on a new deal. It might need that.”
Despite Wood’s hot scoring streak, manager Monk is in the market for a new striker in the final days of the January window.
The Leeds manager has made it clear he wants cover for the prolific first choice front man, as the club’s second top scorer Souleyman Doukara has only netted five times this season.
In other Leeds transfer news, Monk has made a shock transfer revelation after meeting with new owner Andrea Radrizzani.