The future of Leeds United striker Chris Wood has been discussed at length this summer, with the Daily Mail suggesting that new Whites’ manager Thomas Christiansen has slapped a £20 million price tag on the New Zealand international amid interest from Swansea, Stoke City and Southampton.
Despite this lofty valuation, Brighton & Hove Albion look set to join the pursuit of the prolific striker, who plundered 27 Championship goals last season for Leeds and 30 in all competitions.
According to The Sun, Gulls’ manager Chris Hughton will table a club record bid of £12 million to secure the services of the strike, but will this be enough to convince Leeds United to part company with their star forward?
Can the two clubs agree terms?
Wood, 25, tore up Championship defences last year, despite playing for an underwhelming Leeds side that struggled to compete for a play-off berth. He also got off the mark for the new season on the opening day at Bolton, scoring Leeds’ second goal during an exciting, 3-2 win at newly-promoted Bolton Wanderers.
A prolific striker with strength and power in abundance, it is easy to see why Brighton are keen to have the New Zealand international lead their line this season. Wood also starred during a loan spell with the Gulls during the 2010/11 season, scoring nine goals in 31 appearances as the club secured the League One title and promotion to the Championship.
While Brighton may be determined to get their man, however, Leeds are likely to be equally robust in their attempts to retain his services. The reported bid of £12 million is also well below Leeds’ latest valuation, so Brighton may well need to offer a little more if they are to complete the deal prior to the transfer deadline.
Much will depend on the on the attitude of the player himself, of course, as it will be far easier for the Gulls to sign Wood within their budget if the striker indicates his desire to move or lodges a formal transfer request.
Will we see Wood in a Brighton shirt next season?
Given the level of interest in the player and the potential carrot of playing in the Premier League, it seems increasingly likely that Wood will leave Elland Road this summer.
Brighton would also seem to be a logical destination for the New Zealander, who has an existing relationship with the clubs’ fans and would be almost guaranteed regular playing time at the Falmer Stadium.
The Gulls will need to be wary of their rivals, however, as making an official move for the striker could alert others and trigger a potentially costly bidding war.
The club is certainly prepared for such a scenario, with the same article in The Sun also reporting that Huddersfield Town’s live wire striker Nakhi Wells could provide a viable (if somewhat different) alternative should the pursuit of Wood fail.
Brighton remain the favourites to secure the signature of Wood at present, however, even if they may have to pay a little more to complete the deal.