Why Chris Wood Could Go On To Become One Of The Best Strikers In The Premier League
Burnley completed the signing of New Zealand striker Chris Wood from EFL Championship side Leeds United, for a club-record fee of £15million, BBC Sport reported.
The 25-year old forward arrives after a prolific season in the Championship last time around and seems keen on proving himself in the Premier League. During his unveiling, Wood said (as quoted by Lancashire Telegraph):
“I’ve got a lot of ambition to achieve in the future. I’ve got goals that I want to achieve and it starts here.
“I’ve never started a game in the Premier League and this is what I want. My ambition has been to play in the Premier League for years.
“I’ve had tastes and sniffs at being in there but I’ve never had the chance to get a proper crack and coming here I feel like I’ve got the opportunity to do that. That was one of the biggest if not the biggest drives to be here.”
Burnley needed to bring in a new striker after losing their own star centre-forward Andre Gray to fellow Premier League outfit Watford earlier this month. Wood, in many ways, will be the right man to fill the Englishman’s shoes.
The 25-year old was the standout performer for Leeds last season in the Championship, leading them very close to a place in the playoff positions. He scored 25 goals in the English second-tier, and finished the 2016/17 season as the top-scorer in the competition. He was off to a strong start this season as well, scoring a goal and assisting one in his three Championship appearances.
Throughout his career, starting from West Bromwich Albion to Leicester City, there were doubts over his clinical nature in front of goal. But he dispelled all those detractions with two stellar campaigns with Leeds, after joining them from the Foxes in 2015. Last season, he had a shot-accuracy of 53.7% and his big-chance conversion rate was right at the top with the best, standing at 71.9%. The season before, it stood at 37.9% – providing an indication of how lethal he has grown over the past year.
The Kiwi star may not be the most stylish player on the field, but his old-fashioned style of forward play using his body to hold the ball and playing on the shoulders of the centre-halves will certainly be a perfect fit into the scheme of things at Burnley. A natural finisher and an exceptionally strong header of the ball, Wood also has the speed, the athleticism and the physical presence to make a mark in the top tier, and will bring a lot of goals with him to the Turf Moor, without a question.
There will be concerns over a lack of exposure in the Premier League, no doubts – considering that he just played on 10 occasions in the English top-flight during his time with Leicester. But the player is highly motivated to prove himself on the biggest of the stages and has shown all the qualities needed to excel at this level.
Given that he is just 25 years of age, Wood also has plenty of time left to improve his game and adapt to the ways and rigours in the Premier League. His highly impressive improvement in his game over the past two years is indicative of the fact that Wood is a player on the rise and is yet to reach his best. If the way he has managed to turn his fortunes around at Leeds is anything to go by, if he shows the same application and determination in the Premier League with Burnley, there will be few who could stop him from becoming one of the top strikers in the division.