Wout Weghorst vs Chris Wood: Have Burnley or Newcastle got the better deal?
The outcome of this season’s Premier League relegation battle could come down to how strikers signed in the January transfer window by two of the clubs involved in the scrap to avoid the drop fare.
Newcastle United moved early in the window to poach Chris Wood from relegation rivals Burnley by activating a release clause in his contract. The Clarets replaced Wood by signing Dutch forward Wout Weghorst from German side Wolfsburg on transfer deadline day. So who has got the better deal and how will the transfers impact the remainder of the Premier League season?
Both Newcastle and Burnley need goals to fire them out of trouble this season. With 160 goals in 369 career appearances, Weghorst is the more prolific of the pair (Wood has 154 goals in 462 games). The Netherlands international has scored 59 of those goals in the Bundesliga with Wolfsburg and previously played in his homeland for Emmen, Heracles Almelo and AZ Alkmaar. Robert Lewandowski is the only player to have scored more Bundesliga goals since Weghorst moved to Germany in 2019.
Scoring regularly in Germany and the Netherlands have not always translated into Premier League goals, so that is where Wood has the edge. The New Zealander is a proven if not prolific Premier League goalscorer, with 49 goals in 144 top-flight outings for Burnley between 2017 and last month’s move to St James’ Park.
Weghorst has Champions League experience with Wolfsburg and has scored twice in 12 international appearances.
Wood has more extensive international appearance, albeit in a less competitive environment. But his experience of playing in England since 2008 is definitely in his favour.
Wood celebrated his 30th birthday in December, while Weghorst will reach that milestone in August. Both experienced pros who are unlikely to have any resale value for their new employers.
Style of play
Wood is a 6ft 3in targetman, while Weghorst is a 6ft 6in targetman. It is no surprise that Clarets boss Sean Dyche has brought in a striker in a similar mould to Wood. It remains to be seen if those extra three inches prove to be decisive this season.
As we discussed in the Goals section, Weghorst is more of a poacher.
Newcastle reportedly activated a £25m release clause in Wood’s Burnley contract to prise him away from Turf Moor. Weghorst is more of a snip at a reported £12m, shy of the club-record £15m they paid to sign Wood from Leeds United.
But both fees will seem insignificant if the player in question is able to fire their new side to Premier League safety.
Adapting to the Premier League isn’t always easy, and it’s even more difficult to do mid-season. If Weghorst is able to hit the ground running and open his goalscoring account early in his time at Turf Moor then he could have an impact. A lot will depend on the level of service he gets from his new team-mates, who who are currently averaging less than a goal every Premier League game this season.
Wood has already played two Premier League games for Newcastle and is yet to break his duck. But the Magpies have picked up four of their 15 Premier League points so far this season in those two fixtures. If that return continues, Eddie Howe will be more than happy with his business.