Speculation has surfaced in recent days that a trio of Premier League clubs are tracking Leeds United sharpshooter Chris Wood.
A report in the Mirror claims Swansea City, Stoke City and Southampton are all keeping tabs on the New Zealander, who netted 30 goals in all competitions for the Yorkshire club last season and was the Championship’s top-scorer.
Leeds are understood to have slapped a £20 million price tag on their talisman, but that figure may not be enough to ward off his suitors.
Wood’s strike rate since moving to Elland Road from Leicester City is praiseworthy. With 40 league goals in 80 appearances, it is little wonder he is the most sought-after domestic striker, outside the Premier League. It will be interesting to see if he can make the step-up, if indeed he does secure a transfer to a top-flight outfit.
But to which of the three linked clubs is he most suited? Swansea recently snapped up England Under-21 starlet Tammy Abraham on a season-long loan from Chelsea and already have Fernando Llorente in their ranks.
Stoke are in the market for a forward, having seen Jonathan Walters and Marko Arnautovic depart to Burnley and West Ham, respectively.
Meanwhile, Southampton are also on the lookout for a goal-scorer after selling Jay Rodriguez to West Bromwich Albion and with continuing concerns over the fitness of Charlie Austin.
At 25 years of age, Wood is entering the prime of his career. His statistics are impressive and a season-on-season improvement culminated in 27 Championship goals that very nearly helped Leeds secure a play-off place.
He is a versatile striker. With his physical presence, he can be a real handful for defenders and he is very good in the air.
As his record shows, he is a natural finisher who has grown in confidence and may thrive on higher quality service.
Nowadays, very few Premier League clubs are deterred by a £20 million valuation and one of the aforementioned clubs may be willing to take a punt on Wood, despite his shortage of top-flight experience.
Swansea’s pursuit may hinge on the future of Llorente, who is a target for Chelsea manager Antonio Conte.
If that move materialises, the Swans will have the finances to fund a raid for the Leeds hitman. Southampton and Stoke both have money available and, on last season’s evidence, the Kiwi would do an admirable job for either.