According to reports, Premier League side Southampton FC are now eyeing a move for Championship forward Chris Wood. The Saints are on the lookout for a new striker following the departure of Jay Rodriguez to West Bromwich Albion a few weeks back and the New Zealand international is at the top of their replacement list.
The 25-year-old had an unbelievable season with the Whites last campaign where he was difficult to contain for any opponents. He managed to score a whopping 27 goals and register four assists throughout the season with every club in England vying for his services.
Southampton are among Premier League sides like Stoke City and Swansea City, who are willing to land the centre forward this summer. And the fact that Leeds have slapped a price of £20 million on their star striker, makes him all the more gettable. Scoring turned out to be a difficult problem to solve for Claude Puel the last term as the Saints could hardly find the back of the net following the injury to their first choice Charlie Austin, who missed almost five months with a shoulder injury. His 143-day absence led him to miss 26 games, in which Southampton managed to go all the way to the final in the EFL Cup. While in Shane Long the French manager definitely had a reliable option, the 30-year-old was hardly productive.
He could manage just five goals and two assists last season in all competitions and it included the all-important goal against Liverpool in the EFL Cup semi-final, right in the dying minutes. Apart from that, Southampton found some ground only after the arrival of Manolo Gabbiadini from Napoli in January. New manager, Mauricio Pellegrino would need one more option up front to support the likes of Gabbiadini and Austin and Wood would be a perfect addition.
Naturally a centre-forward, the towering striker measures up to 191cm and is quite strong in holding off defenders. A player of his attributes has been seen excelling in the Premier League before and with a terrific wing play like Southampton, which has the likes of Dusan Tadic, Nathan Redmond and Sofiane Boufal, Wood could reach great heights.
He came to the fore with his brilliant control of the ball and sublime finesse from in and around the box. A centre forward’s main job, which is to receive balls and find the back of the net, could be excellently executed by him. The academy product of national side WaiBOP United, it was West Bromwich Albion who landed him in 2008.
Since then, he has spent time with a number of sides like Barnsley, Brighton & Hove Albion, Birmingham City, Bristol City and Millwall before Leicester City bought him in 2012. Leeds brought him in 2015 following a successful stint at Ipswich Town.