This article forms part of our Profit Players feature series, which is where Football Transfer Tavern takes a look at how well a player has fared since being signed or sold, using statistical figures and statements from pundits to prove how good of a deal the club managed to achieve.
Burnley get their Premier League campaign underway tomorrow night with a trip to Leicester, which represents a return to his former stomping ground for one member of Sean Dyche’s squad.
Chris Wood had a two-year spell with the Foxes during which he won promotion to the Premier League in 2014 and, following a move to Leeds, he signed for the Clarets in 2017 for what was a then-club record fee of £15m (as per BBC).
He arrived in Lancashire off the back of an excellent season which saw him plunder 30 goals for the Whites, although he had previously struggled to make an impact in the Premier League with Leicester, so there may have been some reservations about this ability to adapt to the top flight.
The New Zealand international made an instant impact for the Clarets, scoring a stoppage time equaliser against Tottenham at Wembley on his debut for the club and following that up with the winner against Crystal Palace.
Wood only started just over half of Burnley’s top-flight games in his first season at Turf Moor but still hit double figures as his 10-goal haul helped Dyche’s team to finish seventh and qualify for Europe. He missed a large chunk of the winter months with a knee injury but scored four goals in three games upon his comeback, showing a determination to make up for lost time.
The Clarets had a disappointing 2018/19 campaign, finishing 15th in the table, but Wood matched his 10-goal Premier League tally from the previous season and featured in every league game for Burnley that term. He proved to be a tormentor of Spurs again, scoring the opener in a 2-1 home win in February 2019.
The New Zealander then hit double figures for a fifth successive league campaign in 2019/20, except this time his tally rose to 14 as Burnley secured a top 10 finish. He netted in a season-turning 2-1 win over Leicester in January and also opened the scoring in a memorable 2-0 win at Manchester United a few days later.
He goes into the new season with 34 Premier League goals for the Clarets, just four short of Ashley Barnes’ record haul for the club in the division. With Wood’s team-mate remaining sidelined through injury, there is every chance that the 28-year-old will assume the mantle as Burnley’s greatest Premier League goalscorer in the months ahead.
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It isn’t just his goals which have made him stand out, either. Having put a glaring miss behind him to score a last-gasp penalty equaliser against Wolves in July, Dyche hailed the striker’s “great mentality” and “strong character” on an evening when he had just returned from injury. [via Lancashire Telegraph]
That £15m investment three years ago may have seemed like a gamble at the time, but it is one which has paid dividends for the Clarets, who knew what they were doing in bagging a striker who, before and after the move, has consistently proven his worth in front of goal.
Burnley fans, have you been pleasantly surprised by Wood’s impact at Turf Moor? Share your views in the comments section below!
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