NEWCASTLE: Newcastle United boss Eddie Howe has praised the club’s Saudi owners for the swift capture of New Zealand international Chris Wood at a “crucial time” in the Magpies’ season.
On Thursday the £25 million ($34.3 million) capture of the 30-year-old striker was confirmed after the formalities of the deal were completed earlier this week.
It represents smart business for United, as they not only disarmed a direct rival — the Clarets are ahead of the Magpies on goal difference alone in the Premier League table — but also strengthened a position which has been severely weakened by the loss of Callum Wilson to injury and Dwight Gayle to an issue related to COVID-19.
The fast nature of the capture impressed Howe, with the PIF-led consortium in charge of the club moving at speed to get a priority position filled ahead of the club’s relegation six-pointer against Watford on Saturday.
Howe said: “Chris is an important signing for us at a crucial time and I’m very pleased we have been able to move quickly and bring him here.
“He is a very dangerous attacking threat, has a physicality and character that I really like, and he has vast experience in the Premier League. He will be a great fit for us.”
Burnley today officially confirmed United activated a release clause in Wood’s contract, after sources at Turf Moor had previously suggested no such clause existed.
Wood represents the second bit of business in the January window for Newcastle, the first buying opportunity since the majority buyout by the PIF was confirmed in October.
Arab News understands the club are working to try and get at least one more new face through the door before the registration deadline for this weekend.
Players signed before midday (GMT) on Friday will be free to play against Watford at St James’ Park on Saturday.
Wood, carrying a slight groin injury, is expected to be fit enough to make his debut against the Hornets, who sit 17th, two points above United.
A central defender is understood to be top of Newcastle’s lengthy shopping list this winter window, and talks remain alive for Lille’s Sven Botman, Sevilla’s Diego Carlos and Monaco’s Benoit Badiashile.