Leeds must shut the curtains and rebuff PL interest in ace as Everton lead chase
COMMENT By Matt Farr
The Premier League is calling for Leeds goalscorer Chris Wood.
Wood, 25, has fired Leeds into a comfortable position in the Championship promotion race this season, netting 24 times from 36 league appearances.
Yet while the New Zealand international could earn Leeds the right to compete among England’s elite in the Premier League next season, he could end up there even if their promotion bid falls short.
Football Insider revealed this week that Everton are keeping a close eye on Wood ahead of a potential summer move, as they prepare to make changes to their forward ranks.
But despite the prospect of a £15million return for their star striker, Leeds must shut up shop this summer and deter any and all interest in their talisman.
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Wood himself, must also make the key decision to stay at Elland Road for the start of next season, even if Garry Monk’s side are resigned to another season in the second tier.
It is clear that Wood has earned himself the right to test his skills once more in the top tier, having improved greatly as a player since he last graced England’s top division.
He has previously represented two Premier League sides, first West Brom and later Leicester, but neither spell proved particularly fruitful for the tall striker.
But he has established a prolific goalscoring touch in the Championship with Leeds over the last two seasons, and should ignore the lure of the Premier League for at least another year.
The key to Wood’s success this season has been having a manager that believes in him, and having a regular role in the first team. Leeds have no other prolific goalscorers in the squad which leaves Wood as the unchallenged leading man.
A move to a bigger club will almost certainly come with increased competition for places, and while that is a challenge that Wood could relish, a lack of regular action could see him struggle for momentum.
With Everton, the potential departure of Romelu Lukaku leaves a gaping vacancy to fill in attack, but it is unlikely that Ronald Koeman would settle for just Wood given his European ambitions.
However, the hope is that Leeds’ impressive transformation under Monk this term will end with the club reinstated in the Premier League for the first time 2003-04 season; and that Wood should not have to seek a move elsewhere to get the top flight action he deserves.
In other Leeds news, the club have been closely monitoring this European giant over the course of the season.