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Whether Chris Wood leaves the club or not, Leeds United need striking reinforcements. If Wood goes, then 30 goals will have been ripped out of their side in the blink of an eye. That’s not easy to replace!
If he stays though, there is still a problem. Leeds very heavily relied on Wood last term and in the end what they achieved was not enough. There seemed to be sufficient quality in that squad to get them to the playoffs but ultimately, their efforts failed.
Between New Year and early March, when he was not involved in Leeds’ game at Fulham, Wood bagged 11 league goals in 11 games. During that time, Leeds won 7 and drew 1 of their 11 games accumulating 22 points, or 2 points per game. After that Wood scored 3 goals in 8 games, a period which saw Leeds win 2 and draw 2 accruing just 8 points, or 1 per game.
Despite claims from many fans that Leeds do not rely on Wood, pointing to times this season when Wood has not played and the team have still won, the real evidence doesn’t support this and when Wood is off form (or the opposition have sufficiently shackled him), Leeds’ overall ability is drastically reduced. Next season they will need so much more if they are to challenge for automatic promotion and Arouna Kone could just be what they need.
Since following Roberto Martinez from Wigan to Everton, the Ivorian has found his chances somewhat limited. Just 46 Premier League appearances in 4 seasons have been afforded to him with only 6 goals being the result. But does that tell the full story? The answer would be no. His 11 goals in 34 league games for a struggling Wigan side are good stats and even more impressive are his 15 in 34 for Levante in the Primera Liga before that.
Kone obviously has talent but at 33, he may not be given another chance in the top division. With young forwards such as Kemar Roofe at the club, the future looks to have been taken care of. In trying to get out of this division though, sometimes a club has to think of the here and now, and in Kone, Leeds would have a striker of proven ability who would guarantee 10+ goals. That may yet be the difference between a Premier League Leeds United and an anonymous Championship Leeds United in a year’s time.