Journalist Ben Jacobs has claimed that Chris Wood has essentially already left Newcastle United on a permanent basis due to a clause in his loan deal.
What’s the word?
Earlier on in the January transfer window, the Kiwi striker joined Nottingham Forest until the end of the season to help with their fight for Premier League survival.
In the Sky Sports reporting of the deal, it’s explained that the move can become permanent for £15m due to a conditional obligation that runs until the summer of 2024.
While it has remained not fully clear as to what those conditions may be, Jacobs has stated that this clause is not conditional to Forest staying up, as some might have expected, so it will be easy to trigger and likely just based upon him playing a certain number of games.
When talking about it on NUFC Matters, he explained (30:39): “From Wood’s perspective as well, he’s gone to Nottingham Forest, and he will virtually stay there because there’s an obligation to buy with a very specific clause.
“But my understanding is that that clause is not specific to Nottingham Forest staying up. It’s actually a lot simpler to activate, which would suggest, it’s just based upon a series of appearances, and therefore, Wood can be considered now a permanent Nottingham Forest player, in all likelihood.”
Wood only signed for Eddie Howe’s side this time last year, joining from Burnley for £25m. However, he has been limited to just 513 minutes of Premier League action this term, scoring twice in that period.
Evidently, with the likes of Callum Wilson and Alexander Isak ahead of him in the pecking order, the New Zealand international was deemed surplus to requirements.
And, if Jacobs’ reporting is accurate, and this loan deal was made between the two clubs with the intention of a move becoming permanent if a simple clause is triggered, it will be interesting to see if the Magpies chase an alternative striker in the near future.
For now, though focus very much seems to be on finding more creative players with Anthony Gordon close to joining and James Maddison targeted too.
Still with Wilson’s chequered injury history and Isak’s own fitness struggles this term, a third option up top may be considered to replace Wood if he isn’t returning. But that will perhaps have to wait until the summer.