Newcastle United

Newcastle United

Premier League • England

‘Desperate’ Newcastle signing to prompt tactical switch as Howe principles questioned

Eddie Howe Newcastle December 2021

Former Leeds United and Manchester City defender Danny Mills feels Newcastle signing striker Chris Wood smacks of desperation.

The Magpies are in dire need of reinforcements this month as they languish near the foot of the table. The north-east outfit sit 19th in the standings, having taken just 11 points from 19 games this term. Eddie Howe has been charged with the task of rescuing their season.

But he has seen his charges take just six points since replacing Steve Bruce in the St James’ Park dugout. They did pick up their first win of the season under the former Bournemouth chief, with a 1-0 triumph over Burnley.

Wood was in the Clarets line-up on that occasion but will now wear black and white. The New Zealand international has penned a two-and-a-half year contract with the Tynesiders.

Many big-name signings were expected following Newcastle’s Saudi-backed takeover.

Not many pundits predicted that Howe would opt to sign Wood. And Mills agrees with Paul Merson that it was a panic buy by the struggling outfit.

“I think Wood is a desperate signing, that’s the only way I can see it,” he told Football Insider. “They’ve looked at it and thought ‘We have to get some goals from somewhere, how are we going to do that?’

“Playing expansive football is not going to work, they’re going to get beaten. It might be a change of tack, get the ball wide and into the box for Wood.”

Diego Carlos wanted by Newcastle on cut price

Diego Carlos wanted by Newcastle on cut price

Newcastle have made 2 offers for Diego Carlos and both have been turned down by Sevilla

Wood beaming all the way to Newcastle

The Magpies have already snapped up Kieran Trippier from Atletico Madrid, with many players linked to the club.

But the January transfer window is notoriously difficult to work in, with clubs reluctant to let their top stars leave. Therefore, it is sometimes a case of getting what you can.

And Mills believes that is very much the case with Wood who, he feels, will have been shocked to get the call.

“He must be doing somersaults, he must have been doing cartwheels up the M62 and onto the A1,” he added. “It’s an unbelievable move for him at his age, it’s absolutely fantastic.

“But it’s a desperation signing, Newcastle may have to change their principles and Eddie Howe may have to change the way he wants to play.

“Realistically, he had 18 months to go at Burnley. I’m guessing it was one of those release clauses that was £30million last year and the year before it was £40million.”

READ MORE: Family connection gives Newcastle edge in three-way battle for £15m striker