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Will Chris Wood Be a Success at Burnley?

Chris Wood enjoyed a hugely successful season in 2016-17. The New Zealand international striker scored 30 goals in all competitions for Leeds United, including 27 in the Championship. The 25-year-old was one of the best players for Leeds last season, and it was only a matter of time before clubs from the Premier League came calling.

The Clarets need a striker who can score 15 to 20 goals in the Premier League this season in order to escape the drop to the Championship, and they paid a club-record fee of £15 million to Leeds in the hopes that the New Zealander would fit the bill. Wood has played in the Premier League before with West Bromwich Albion and Leicester City, but the striker has not been successful in the top flight of English football.

Wood himself has admitted that he has a point to prove in the Premier League, and although the 25-year-old is somewhat of a gamble signing from Burnley, Sean Dyche’s side could have done worse. True, the New Zealand international striker has had one ‘great’ season on a personal level, but that could elevate him to the next level and Burnley appear to have struck while the iron was hot.

Wood was one of the top favourites to finish as the leading goalscorer in the Championship this season before his move to Burnley in the summer transfer window. Given how good the striker was last season, it should not have come as a surprise. Wood was easily the best player in his position in 2016-17, and given the creativity of Samuel Saiz, Stuart Dallas and Pablo Hernandez in the Leeds team, he would have scored quite a lot, as bookmakers had rightly predicted.

Source: Chris Wood via Twitter

Burnley narrowly escaped relegation from the Premier League at the end of last season, and the Clarets will be aiming to do the same this time around. Dyche’s side are the second favourites to go down to the Championship, according to Australian leading bookmakers, and it is hard not see why. Burnley have some good and hardworking players, but their squad is far from ‘great’. True, there have been some encouraging results against Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur in the opening weeks of the season, but Dyche and his men will be fighting for survival come next May.

Wood, though, will be a key player in Burnley staving off relegation to the Championship. The former West Brom and Leicester striker has already scored for the Clarets in the Premier League, and he could find the net a dozen times in the league this season, as Sky Sports pundit Charlie Nicholas has predicted.

During the 2016-17 campaign, the 25-year-old scored important goals and found the net against the big teams. It was Wood who just minutes into his Premier League debut for Burnley found the net in injury time to pick up a point against Tottenham at the Wembley Stadium in London.

Wood will have to fight for his place in the starting lineup in the next few weeks and there will come a time when he will have a dry spell, but if he is able to score 15 goals in the Premier League this season, then Burnley should be safe from the dreaded drop to the second tier of English football.