David Prutton: It’s imperative Leeds United keep hold of Chris Wood

Chris Wood celebrates scoring at Bolton.
Chris Wood celebrates scoring at Bolton.
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THERE has obviously been interest in Leeds United striker Chris Wood this week.

If you get a significant offer of money for a player at a certain level then it’s always positive from the club’s financial point of view. But it’s the old question of how do you actually replace him?

Chris really matured last season and nobody else stands out for Leeds in terms of scoring goals.

Samuel Saiz obviously got a hat-trick on his debut but whether that hat-trick is a reflection of how many goals he is going to score across the season, maybe not. Maybe that’s unrealistic.

But with Chris, because there has already been a change of scene with Garry Monk going and Thomas Christiansen coming in, I think it’s important that Leeds keep the kind of players that are really synonymous with the way they have gone about their football over the last year or so.

Leeds have got a man in charge now in Andrea Radrizzani who is very prudent financially. He knows what he is doing, he knows how to make money and he knows how to spend money with regards to the football club.

It’s going to be quite a tough last couple of weeks of the window and that dovetails in really well with what the majority of owners and managers want really – the window shut before the season starts. I certainly think it would make things a lot more straight-forward and it would make for a tidier start to the season to be honest.

It’s great from a media point of view because the speculation is part of the excitement. But I think from the point of view of the straightforward running of a football club, I think it would make it a lot smoother without it.

Those speculating how much Wood is worth have a very good point. Britt Assombalonga obviously went to Middlesbrough from Nottingham Forest for £15m and you think, ‘wow, that is a lot of money’. You are surprised.

But then you hear the bids for Chris Wood, and realise that in recent seasons he has scored a lot more goals and consistently played more games.

You have to think why shouldn’t we be surprised if there were bids of £15m plus? Scoring goals in one of the most competitive leagues in the world is not to be sniffed at and he elevated Leeds into a position where they almost got into the play-offs. Without his goals they wouldn’t have been anywhere near them.

And if Britt can go for £15m then that immediately puts Chris into the £15m to £20m bracket. That sounds utterly ridiculous and I don’t mean ridiculous in terms of Chris’ ability, I mean in the sense of where we are at now with transfers. How much did Gylfi Sigurdsson go to Everton to? £45m or £50m? A £50m player 10 years ago was someone from another planet that would have been a Messi.

Now it’s a player that is a very, very good player in the Premier League but, wow, £50m?

In terms of what will happen with Wood, you can’t be surprised by how any of it pans out. You can’t help but draw comparisons with Virgil van Dijk and Coutinho. It can all start off very very nicely and very demure but it can soon change.

There will be different forces at work with Chris. There will be the player who has found a real home at Leeds and then the player that wants to make the most of the opportunities that are put in front of him.

There will perhaps be agent(s) involved and Chris will also be thinking about the long term future and himself and his immediate family.

Everything comes into it on a decision you make at 25 years old.

It’s not like he is struggling on at Leeds but it’s a potentially life changing move for himself and his family.

But I think Chris will probably just sit tight.

You never know how it might boil down and Leeds might get a ridiculous bid in the last couple of days before the transfer window shuts where suddenly Leeds go ‘wow, that’s an unbelievable amount of money’ and the decide to cash in.

But if they are thinking about or even contemplating selling him then they have to identify somebody who can replace him straight away.

Otherwise it will be a season where they really need someone to step up like a Kemar Roofe or a Samuel Saiz.

Or you identify somebody that you can bring in where it is almost like an easy transition from one player going out the door to another one coming in.

I think it’s imperative that Leeds keep hold of him.

EFL on Sky:

Tonight: Burton Albion v Birmingham City, 7pm, Sky Sports Football.

Tomorrow: Sunderland v Leeds United, 5.15pm Sky Sports Main Event.

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