Chris Wood more than warranted his Premier League opportunity at West Brom. The powerful striker, the fifth New Zealander to play in the top flight, had scored at a prolific rate for the club’s youth teams and a senior bow was just rewards.
Just 27 games after his league debut away at Fratton Park in April 2009, however, West Brom cut their ties with Wood. In the end, Leicester City were forced to pay just £1 million, pocket change in today’s game, to sign the then-21-year-old on a permanent deal in January 2013, as reported by the BBC.
The rest, as they say, is history. While West Brom continue to persist with a striker who has not scored a league goal in four months, Wood has come of age with Leeds United. In 41 Championship games, the in-form frontman has plundered a league-leading 25 goals.
There is no more lethal finisher outside the top flight.
And, according to The Sun, interested suitors will have to dig deep if they want to make The Whites consider selling him in the summer. West Ham and Southampton have been credited with an interest recently, with Wood’s stunning form in the second tier justifying his reported £15 million valuation.
Therefore, it’s tempting to wonder why West Brom never saw this coming. In a way, they never really gave Wood a chance, farming him out on endless short-term loans.
Though it’s not as if the Auckland-born goal machine struggled for form away from The Hawthorns. He hit eight in a temporary spell at Birmingham, nine for Brighton and eleven in just 19 games on loan at Millwall.
Consequently, hindsight doesn’t paint West Brom’s decision to flog their most promising youngster for one fifteenth of his current valuation in a particularly positive light.