Leeds United pledge to reinvest Chris Wood income into first team

Chris Wood scored 27 goals in the Championship last season
Chris Wood scored 27 goals in the Championship last season
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Leeds United owner Andrea Radrizzani promised a £15m fee would be ploughed back into the club’s squad after Chris Wood completed his move to Burnley.

Wood joined Burnley today in a deal which broke the Premier League club’s transfer record, signing a four-year contract after passing a medical.

The New Zealand international’s departure from Leeds materialised quickly over the weekend as Burnley succeeded with a third offer for him.

Leeds have received an initial £15m and the value of the transfer could rise to £18m depending on add-ons negotiated as part of Wood’s contract.

The move prised away a forward who scored 27 times in the Championship last season and top scored for United for two years running. Radrizzani said Leeds had agreed to sell Wood after failing to tie him to an improved contract.

Leeds’ chairman also revealed that negotiations with Wood had been ongoing for a month but the 25-year-old indicated his intention to quit Elland Road for Burnley on Friday by rejecting Radrizzani’s offer of a new three-year deal.

Chris Wood unveiled at Burnley

Chris Wood unveiled at Burnley

Radrizzani, who announced that all replica shirts sold for this season with Wood’s name on the back would be exchanged for a new top free of charge, said in a statement: “For the past month we have tried to negotiate a new three-year contract with Chris Wood.

“We offered the player strong financial terms including reasonable exit clauses, lower than the fee we demanded for a transfer this summer, should the club not reach the Premier League in a certain timeframe.

“However the player’s preference was to leave Leeds United and as he only had one year left on his contract after this season we had to protect the club and ensure we did not sell Chris below our valuation.

“We want players at Leeds who consider us a big club and we want players who are committed to our vision to return to the Premier League.

“Supporters can rest assured that monies generated from the sale of Chris Wood will be reinvested into adding to the 12 signings we have made already.”

Leeds will look to sign at least two strikers before the transfer window closes a week on Thursday and the club are being strongly linked with Middlesbrough’s Rudy Gestede.

Gestede was signed by Boro from Aston Villa in January at a time when Victor Orta, Leeds’ director of football, was head of recruitment at The Riverside. Gestede has started all four of Boro’s league games this season.

Radrizzani and Orta are presently in Italy and head coach Thomas Christiansen hinted that the club would look closely at the continental market in the search for new forwards. He also implied that United would broaden their remit beyond like-for-like replacements for Wood.

“It’s going well,” Christiansen said. “Victor is in Italy with the chairman and I got some news that they’re working good and we will soon have some news.

“A profile like Chris Wood’s is good to have but also players who can adapt, another type of player who can combine a little bit more and run deep. These are the possibilities we’re looking at right now.

“We know the prices of homegrown players. They’ve very high. We have to have that in mind and also the quality we can sign abroad. These two combinations we need to look at.”

Wood, who missed Saturday’s 2-0 win at Sunderland with a move to Burnley pending, issued a statement on Twitter today saying: “The club wanted me to stay and were discussing a new deal but when the opportunity came to go the Premier League, I wanted to take this chance with Burnley.”

Christiansen insisted again that he accepted Wood’s reasoning. “It’s fair, his decision,” the United boss said. “Now we have to focus on the players we want to try to sign.

“I always say that you have to put yourself in the situation of Chris Wood. He has the possibility to play in the Premier League. He has the possibility to earn more money. His ambitions are these and everyone has to respect that. Again, no-one is above the club. The next players who come are most important.”

The pressure on United’s transfer business was increased on Saturday by a foot injury suffered by Caleb Ekuban, their £500,000 signing from Chievo.

The forward limped out of the second half at Sunderland having made his league debut in place of Wood.

“It’s a bone in his foot but the exact situation we don’t know,” Christiansen said. “In a couple of days we will have more information. I hope it’s not so bad.”

Leeds United head coach Thomas Christiansen.

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