Paul Merson ‘flabbergasted’ by £15m Newcastle United transfer decision

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Paul Merson provided his view on Newcastle United’s decision to allow Chris Wood to join Nottingham Forest.

Former Arsenal midfielder Paul Merson is “flabbergasted” by Newcastle United’s decision to offload Chris Wood to Nottingham Forest.

The New Zealand international moved to City Ground on loan until the end of the season and is set to join permanently in the summer for £15million - if certain obligations are met.

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Wood’s departure just 12 months on from his £25m move from Burnley came as surprise to many, with the striker featuring in all-but one of United’s matches in 2022-23.

Head coach Eddie Howe admitted the loss of Wood leaves United “dangerously short” in attack should Alexander Isak or Callum Wilson pick up an injury.

Newcastle United's Chris Wood has joined Nottingham Forest on loan.Newcastle United's Chris Wood has joined Nottingham Forest on loan.
Newcastle United's Chris Wood has joined Nottingham Forest on loan.

Howe wants to sign at least one player before the January transfer window slams shut but Merson can’t understand why Wood was allowed to leave without a replacement already lined up.

“Flabbergasted. Honestly, flabbergasted,” Merson told Sky Sports. “I like Wilson and Isak. But one’s been out a long time injured [and] the other one, you don’t seem to get a run of games – Wilson – where he’s fit consistently.

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“Wood comes in and does the job. He comes across as a good pro. Not just that, he’s at the other end, as well, when he’s defending. When they’re keeping clean sheets, it’s not luck – they defend corners very well. He comes back, he clears stuff.

“For what they’re selling him for, I cannot believe it. It wouldn’t surprise me in three weeks’ time if the two centre-forwards were injured and they haven’t got a forward to put on upfront. If you’re Newcastle, you do the business first and then you get rid of Wood.”

Although Wood scored just five goals in 39 appearances for United, the former Leeds United man did play his part in helping keep the club in the Premier League last year.

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