Leeds United: Thomas Christiansen confident any further bids for Chris Wood will be rejected
Thomas Christiansen insisted he was confident that Leeds United would knock back any further offers for Chris Wood after seeing Burnley fail with a Â£12million bid last week.
Christiansen warned that Leeds could not afford to sell Wood in the final weeks of the transfer window but said he was in “no doubt” that the striker would remain at Elland Road despite the first signal of a push by Premier League clubs to sign him.
Leeds rejected a £12m plus add-ons deal, believed to have been tabled by Burnley, before Saturday’s Championship game against Preston North End.
The club’s valuation of Wood exceeds that sum and owner Andrea Radrizzani, who bought Leeds in May, is understood to be insistent that the New Zealand international will not be sold ahead of FIFA’s transfer deadline on August 31.
Wood, who is Leeds’ highest earner, has two years left on his contract at Elland Road but caught the eye last season with a 30-goal haul in Championship and League Cup fixtures.
He failed to find the net on Saturday as United’s first home league game of the Championship season ended in a goalless draw.
Asked how crucial the retention of Wood would be as Leeds chase promotion to the Premier League, Christiansen said: “It’s very important. 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.”
Burnley, who began the Premier League with a dramatic 3-2 win at champions Chelsea on Saturday, are expected to sign a new striker after selling Andre Gray to Watford for £18m last week.
The Lancashire club have already recruited one player from Leeds this summer, taking left-back Charlie Taylor for a compensation fee worth in excess of £6m.
Wood, whose best chance against Preston came via a one-on-one opportunity on 73 minutes, was quoted in an interview in Saturday’s matchday programme as saying: “The new gaffer has come in and said we want to get promoted this year and we want to be in that top six, definitely.
“We have a lot of hard work to get there and build on last season but we have the squad here that can do that.”
Christiansen said he had not sought assurances from either United or Wood that the striker would stay with Leeds this season but the United head coach quipped: “If they (rival clubs) give me £200m like for Neymar, perhaps we can talk about that.
“I believe that in the programme he said he feels happy and that after I signed he said he would be happy staying here.
“Why shouldn’t he?”