Newcastle United star faces ‘difficult’ decision amid Leeds United transfer speculation

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The Magpies striker has been linked with a move away from St James Park during the January transfer window.

Newcastle United striker Chris Wood has a number of factors to ‘weigh up’ after reports former club Leeds United are keen on taking him back to Elland Road.

The New Zealand international joined the Magpies in a reported £25m deal during the January transfer window and played a key role in helping Eddie Howe’s side fight a successful battle against relegation with a stunning run of form during the second-half of the season. However, Callum Wilson’s return to fitness has limited Wood’s involvement during the current campaign and there will be further competition for a place in United’s starting lineup with record signing Alexander Isak entering the final stages of his recovery from a thigh injury he suffered on international duty in September.

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The former Real Sociedad frontman did not feature in Thursday night’s 5-0 hammering of Saudi Arabian side Al-Hilal and Eddie Howe has already confirmed he will not appear in next weekend’s home friendly with La Liga club Rayo Vallecano, despite reassuring supporters Isak had not suffered a setback since returning to training.

Howe suggested a return in the Carabao Cup tie against Bournemouth or the Boxing Day visit to Leicester City should be the target - and that means Wood could find himself as United’s third-choice striker over the coming weeks. There has been speculation he could return to Leeds United during the January transfer window after scoring 41 goals in 83 appearances during a two-year stay at Elland Road earlier in his career.

Former Aston Villa and Scotland defender Alan Hutton believes Wood has a big decision to make over his future on Tyneside and insisted Newcastle will be ‘looking for a different type of player’ as they look to deliver on the ambitious plans of their owners.

He told Football Insider: “Of course it is always going to be difficult. He is at a club now that is thriving. They are going places but you need to weigh that up. Is he going to be a regular starter? For me, no. That is no disrespect to him it is just how they are going at this moment in time. They are trying to get top four, go for league titles, get in the Champions League. So they are looking for a different type of player.

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“Leeds are a big club with a big following but you do not want to fight relegation either. I think he would fit at Leeds but at this moment in time I am not sure what Leeds are capable of. Are they capable of being a mid-table team or are they going to be fighting relegation year-in year-out? So, he will have to weigh that up.”

Newcastle are awaiting news on the fitness of Wood after he limped out of the win against Al-Hilal.

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