Eddie Howe issues ‘dangerous’ Newcastle United transfer update ahead of Chris Wood exit

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Newcastle United head coach Eddie Howe wants to sign a replacement for Chris Wood - but admits there are no guarantees.

Eddie Howe has confirmed Chris Wood is nearing a move to Nottingham Forest - and admits not signing a replacement would leave Newcastle United “dangerously short” in attack.

The 31-year-old is currently undergoing his medical ahead of a loan move to the City Ground, which is set to become permanent for £15million in the summer.

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Howe did not plan to lose the New Zealand international, who has played in all but one of United’s matches in 2022-23, but respects Wood’s wishes and says it is a good deal for the player and club.

“If you go back three or four days ago, it wouldn’t have been something on my horizon, Howe said. “Losing a player we’ve used so much would not have been something we wanted to do but you have to understand January can be unpredictable and things happen you don’t expect but then you need to be able to react - that’s the key thing now.”

The Magpies head coach added: “Chris has been excellent, no problems. We’ve spoken, communicated regularly. It was something he wanted to pursue because of the length of contract he was being offered at Nottingham Forest. I can understand his position, so no problems there.”

Newcastle United striker Chris Wood.Newcastle United striker Chris Wood.
Newcastle United striker Chris Wood.

Although Wood has scored just five goals in 39 appearances for Newcastle, many will view the transfer as a success after he helped the club retain its Premier League status last season.

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“He’s been a huge player for us, outstanding in every way,” Howe said. “When we signed him, we were in a very difficult league position. He played a huge part on the pitch to help transform the team.

“He’s been excellent, both on and off the pitch, in terms of his leadership and positivity even when he’s not played. You can’t underestimate the role he’s played.

“It was a difficult decision, because you have to take into account the player and his wishes. But also, I think it’s a very good deal financially for the football club.”

With 11 days of the January transfer window remaining, Howe is hopeful of sourcing a replacement for Wood, although it might not necessarily be a ‘like-for-like’.

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Newcastle United boss Eddie Howe.Newcastle United boss Eddie Howe.
Newcastle United boss Eddie Howe. | Getty Images

Howe said: “I don’t think we’ll necessarily replace Chris with another Chris if that makes sense. His type of player, I don’t necessarily think is in the market. The unique skills that he has, I think we needed that this time last year.

“He was a focal point for us, he enabled us to play a way that I thought took the pressure off the players at that time, he brought other players into play and made them look better. We’re not necessarily looking at that type of player in the market.

“We’ll see what we can do with 11 days to go. It’s not long, but it’s got to be the right player. That’s always so important in any transfer deal we have to do.

“Hopefully, we’re planning to replace him,” Howe said. “Certainly, from my side there was no thought of letting a player go and not replacing. I think that would leave us dangerously short of players. But there are no guarantees. That’s the position we’re in.

“We would have targets that we would pursue, for sure. I think it’s important not just to have one. We do have a pool of players that we like. Let’s see how we go.”

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