Leeds United have sold some terrific players in the modern era as the likes of Rio Ferdinand, Jonathan Woodgate, Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink and Robbie Keane have sealed big-money moves away from Elland Road.
In and amongst their most expensive departures, however, is a player they sold whilst competing in the Championship – Chris Wood.
The New Zealand international left Leeds to join Burnley for roughly £14.7m in the summer of 2017, as Leeds missed out on the play-offs in the second tier. This remains the club’s third-most expensive sale in history, with Hasselbaink (£15.03m) and Ferdinand (£41.4m) the only players ahead of him in that regard.
He was sold for more than the likes of Keane, Robbie Fowler, Alan Smith, Harry Kewell and Fabian Delph. How did Wood get to that point, though?
The current £50k-per-week colossus was snapped up from Leicester by Leeds in the summer of 2015 for a reported fee of £3.2m. This was a gamble by the club as he was coming off the back of scoring one goal in seven Premier League games for the Foxes. He also failed to beat the goalkeeper in the Championship during eight matches on loan at Ipswich.
That risk paid off for Leeds, however, who ended up playing a blinder in the transfer market. He enjoyed a solid first campaign at Elland Road as he found the back of the net 17 times in all competitions, including 13 in the Championship, showing signs of promise as a young centre-forward.
Wood then exploded onto the scene in the 2016/17 season as he set the second-tier alight for the Whites. He averaged a WhoScored rating of 7.0 as he scored a phenomenal 27 goals, whilst also providing four assists, in 41 starts.
His sensational form in the Championship led to Burnley paying £14.7m for him at the end of that campaign, which meant that Leeds made a cool £11.5m profit in two years on the striker. Whilst this is a masterstroke from the club in its own right, what followed on from it proves that they played a blinder.
12 months on from the sale of Wood, Leeds signed Patrick Bamford from Middlesbrough for £7.11m. The ex-Chelsea man scored 16 goals in the club’s 2019/20 promotion campaign before firing in 17 top-flight goals for Marcelo Bielsa last term, proving himself to be a consistent scorer at the top level. Since then, he’s also earned his first cap for England too.
In four full seasons for Burnley in the Premier League, Wood, who was hailed as “first-class” by Peter Crouch, scored 10, 10, 14 and 12 goals in his four seasons at the Clarets. This suggests, purely based on goalscoring, that Leeds ended up being better off by making a huge profit on Wood and then replacing him with Bamford.
Since becoming one of Bielsa’s biggest projects, he has topped the Kiwi’s top-scoring Premier League season.