Thursday, July 02, 2015

Leeds United: Big-money deal for Wood takes Rosler by surprise

Yorkshire Evening Post 2/7/15
UWE ROSLER has professed his delight at the capture of big-money recruit Chris Wood – and readily admits he did not think it was possible.
The Kiwi striker has arrived at Leeds for a seven-figure fee which could rise to £3m, with the Whites head coach quick to pay tribute to owner Massimo Cellino for sanctioning the deal and making it happen.
Only last week, Rosler alluded to United not having one of the biggest budgets in the league, with little likelihood of big-money deal seemingly on the horizon.
But the green light was given to recruit Wood, much to the head coach’s pleasant surprise.
Rosler said: “The deal is a big one and we won’t be able to do two or three of them. I didn’t realise this (Wood signing) was possible – when I compare our wage budget to others. And our wage budget is what I was told last week.
“But with the help of Mr Cellino, it has happened.
“It is a clear sign of our intent that we want to build something. That was the message when I started and it is still the same now.”
Wolves were also interested in Wood, who has enjoyed success in the Championship with the likes of Millwall, Leicester and Birmingham, but ended their interest on Tuesday evening, viewing a £3m package to be too steep.
Leeds had already pretty much signed and sealed the arrival of Wood, but both Rosler and the forward have been quick to stress that his arrival at Elland Road was down to footballing reasons and nothing about money.
Rosler added: “There was other competition (for his signature). I know Wolves were interested and another club.
“But I can only tell you what Chris told me when we had a meeting to present ourselves to him, his parents and agent.
“And the impression I got was that this was not a money decision. He fitted our wage structure. It was a decision for him on the status of our club and seeing himself as an integral part of our future.”
At just 23, Wood has already played for eight clubs in England, including six on loan and Rosler is confident he can lay down some lasting roots at Leeds and kick on again after being on the periphery at Leicester last term.
On Wood, who spent a spell at Ipswich Town at the end of last season, he added: “He found it hard to get regular playing time (at Leicester) and got loaned out here and there.
“Sometimes it is hard and you need stability in your day-to-day regime. Also with the players you play with and the manager and coaches you work with.
“I think it will make it easier for a young player to settle.
“We offer him that and Chris decided because of football to come here. He sees a young squad of players and a team that will be built for the future. He can be a very important part of that.”

Wood wants to drive Leeds forward

leedsunited.com 1/7/15
Chris Wood hopes to "become part of history" at Leeds after leaving Leicester to sign a four-year deal at Elland Road.
The striker, United's fourth summer arrival so far, trained with his new team-mates for the first time at Thorp Arch on Wednesday and is now raring to help "take the club forward".
The 23-year-old said: "I’m very excited, it’s a massive club – everybody knows that.
"It’s one that I’m happy to get over the line. That was what I wanted when I heard the interest and I spoke to the manager.
"It was something that took me aback and made me think ‘This is where I want to be and this is the club I want to be at’. Thankfully, I got there."
United beat off strong competition from other Championship rivals to secure the New Zealand international's signature, and Wood says his mind was soon made up after meeting with the club.
"When they had the bid accepted, I came up here the next day and spoke to the gaffer and the owner," he said.
"I was really taken aback by what they said. They seem to really understand how we’re going to take the club forward.
"After last season, we need to take the club forward.
"I believe that, with the owner and Adam Pearson and the gaffer, we’re ready to take the club forward."
"It’s a massive club with a massive fanbase and very passionate fans. I can’t wait to be playing in front of them and hopefully doing the business."
Asked about his aims for the future, Wood replied: "Ultimately, I want to be in the Premier League and that’s where I want to take Leeds.
"I’d like to establish myself here, become part of a club and hopefully become part of history if that happens.
"I’ve got a nice long deal which is what I wanted – I want to be at a club for a long period of time."

The right player - Rosler on Wood

leedsunited.com 1/7/15
Uwe Rosler has spoken of his delight at securing the signature of Chris Wood from Leicester, hailing the New Zealand international as the "right player at the right time".
Wood finalised a four-year deal at Elland Road on Wednesday morning after United beat off strong competition from a number of Championship rivals for his services.
The 23-year-old became the club’s fourth signing of the summer following the arrivals of goalkeeper Charlie Horton from Cardiff, forward Lee Erwin from Motherwell and defender Sol Bamba from Palermo.
Rosler revealed to leedsunited.com that competition from elsewhere made the deal “very tough” to get over the line, but the head coach hailed the influence of those at the club in getting the move finalised so quickly.
“I think it’s the right player at the right time," said Rosler. "That sort of player with proven Championship quality is rare.
“I’m very happy that we've got him. I think it’s the right player at the right price, at the right stage of his career. There was competition from other clubs.”
On his summer business so far, the head coach added: “We have signed an experienced player in Sol, we signed young players in Charlie Horton and Lee Erwin, and there’s Chris now who is a youngish player.
“There’s a clear path for us now going forward to reach the next level.”
Wolves were also among the clubs reported to have been keen on Wood’s signature, and Rosler said that demand for the striker made it a difficult deal to be completed.
“I think this was a very tough one because there was a lot of competition,” he said. “It was not easy to get it over the line.
“All credit to Mr Cellino, he was very positive to the idea to bring Chris in.
“We presented ourselves as a club – Mr Cellino, Adam Pearson, Stuart Hayton and Martyn Glover all had very important roles and then obviously myself on the footballing side.
“We presented to his agent and his parents the best possible way for him and we convinced him that Leeds United is the best move for his career because he has to find a home where he gets regular first-team football.”

Wood completes United switch

leedsunited.com 1/7/15
We are delighted to confirm the signing of striker Chris Wood from Leicester City on a four-year deal.
Wood, 23, arrives at Elland Road for an undisclosed fee, with the club having beaten off stiff competition from other Championship rivals for his signature.
The New Zealand international becomes United’s fourth summer signing following the additions of Charlie Horton, Lee Erwin and Sol Bamba earlier this month, as Uwe Rosler's squad continues to take shape for the new campaign.
“I think he’s another important piece in the jigsaw,” the head coach told leedsunited.com . “We were looking for a number nine type – like Chris Wood is.
“He’s physical, strong and experienced in this league. He has potential to develop and has his best years in front of him.
“It’s exciting. He already has a proven goalscoring record and I think there are many goals to come. We think that he is the right player.”
Wood, who joined Leicester from West Brom in 2013, scored 20 times during his 62 appearances in all competitions for the Foxes.
He found the net on the opening day of the Premier League season in Leicester’s 2-2 draw with Everton, but top-flight opportunities became limited for the striker and he subsequently moved on loan to Ipswich for the second half of 2014/15.
Wood’s career began in New Zealand - representing Cambridge FC, Waikato FC and then Hamilton Wanderers - before he made the switch to England with West Brom as a highly-rated youngster back in 2009.
Four years at the Hawthorns, which included loan spells at Barnsley, Brighton, Birmingham, Bristol City and Millwall, brought limited first-team chances with the Baggies, and he eventually joined Leicester permanently in January 2013 following a prolific loan stint at Millwall.
Wood ended that campaign with an impressive 22 goals from 43 appearances, establishing himself as one of the division’s hottest properties. He netted eight in 29 games during Leicester’s promotion-winning campaign and featured seven times in the Premier League last season.

Leeds United: £3m for Wood

Yorkshire Evening Post 1/7/15
LEEDS UNITED are close to completing the signing of Leicester City striker Chris Wood for a fee which could rise to around £3m. United are set to win the race to sign the 23-year-old New Zealand-born forward, who is understood to have been speaking with Leeds officials yesterday ahead of an impending big-money move to West Yorkshire.
Both Leeds and Wolves had been in a two-way fight to sign the Kiwi international – but according to reports from the Midlands last night, Wanderers have now pulled out of the race.
The Molineux outfit were not prepared to pay a £3m package for Wood, who has one year left on his deal at the King Power Stadium.
Leeds are now expected to finalise the signing of Wood on a four-year contract and the deal is expected to go through despite last night’s shock dismissal of Foxes boss Nigel Pearson.
Wood, also subject of recent interest from QPR, is down the pecking order at Leicester, who are keen to recoup some cash after spending £7m on Japanese international striker Shinji Okazaki.
The New Zealand international ended last season on loan at Ipswich, with Jamie Vardy, Leo Ulloa, David Nugent and Andrej Kramaric all in front of him in the striking queue at Leicester.
He netted just once for the Foxes last term, netting in the 2-2 Premier League draw with Everton on the opening day of 2014-15.
Wood started his career in England as a teenager at West Brom in 2009 and had loan spells at a number of clubs including Barnsley, Brighton, Birmingham City and Millwall. After hitting 11 goals in 19 matches in the first half of 2012-13 with the Lions, Wood rebuffed interest from the Londoners to join Leicester at the start of the January transfer window in 2013 – for an initial £1.25m with the fee rising to £3m.
Wood scored 20 goals for Leicester from 33 starts and 29 substitute appearances and was linked with a host of second-tier sides at the start of last term including Wolves – but he rejected a move to Molineux after failing to agree personal terms.
Wood made just seven league appearances from the bench for Leicester last term.
United, who returned to pre-season training on Monday, have signed three players already this summer, bringing in experienced defender Sol Bamba for an undisclosed fee from Serie A side Palermo alongside Motherwell forward Lee Erwin and young Cardiff City goalkeeper Charlie Horton.
Meanwhile, former Leicester defender Bamba has spoken of his relief after finally completing his protracted move to Leeds last week – with the 30-year-old signing a two-year deal with the option of a further 12 months.
Bamba, instrumental during his loan spell at Leeds in the second half of last season when the side pulled away from relegation danger in the Championship, said: “It’s great to be signing my contract here.
“I always said I wanted to remain at the club and it’s good news.
“Obviously, I need to kick on with everyone involved at the club.
“Now we have to get on with the football and I must try to do the best I can as an individual and us as a team.”

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Leeds United closing in on Leicester City striker Chris Wood

Yorkshire Post 29/6/15
LEEDS UNITED are understood to be closing in on the signing of Leicester City forward Chris Wood.
Leeds saw a seven-figure bid, believed to be over £2m with add-ons, agreed by the Foxes late last week and have been battling it out with Wolves to sign the 23-year-old.
After seeing an initial offer rebuffed by Leicester, Wanderers come back in with a second bid, which was accepted by the East Midlands outfit.
Wood is considering his options with Leeds understood to be winning the race to sign him.
Wood’s days at Leicester are numbered with Foxes keen to recoup a seven-figure fee of £2.5m for his services - having just spent £7m on Japanese striker Shinji Okazaki, who has arrived at the club from Bundesliga side Mainz.
The likes of Leonardo Ulloa and Jamie Vardy are also in front of Wood in the queue for a starting spot.
Wood scored on the opening day of last season for Leicester in a 2-2 Premier League draw with Everton.
But that was his only strike in the top-flight in 2014-15 and he spent a eight-match spell at Ipswich in the final months of last season, failing to find the net for the Tractor Boys.
Wood, linked with Leeds in the past, has also previously had loan spells at Millwall, Bristol City, Birmingham City, Brighton and Hove Albion and Barnsley, after starting his career at West Brom.
He previously spent a successful temporary spell under Wolves boss Kenny Jackett at Millwall in the first half of the 2012-13 season, netting 11 goals for the Lions.
Wood, who has a year left on his Leicester contract, struck a late winner in Millwall’s 1-0 success over Leeds at the New Den in November 2012.

Monday, June 29, 2015

Leeds United: Glover has sown the seeds to bear fruit

Yorkshire Evening Post 29/6/15
HEAD of recruitment Martyn Glover says Leeds United are concentrating their efforts on bringing in a British core of players as they plot their Championship path in 2015-16.
United – whose players officially start pre-season training at Thorp Arch today – have already brought in three players, with last week’s arrival of defender Sol Bamba following on from the additions of young striker Lee Erwin and rookie goalkeeper Charlie Horton.
Leeds have been linked with a host of other players, including Leicester duo Chris Wood and Liam Moore and Birmingham City forward Clayton Donaldson with Glover working in tandem with head coach Uwe Rosler and owner Massimo Cellino to augment the club’s squad numbers.
A plethora of signings arrived from the continent in the 2014 close season with former sporting director Nicola Salerno proving an influential figure in bringing many players to Leeds, particularly from Italy.
But Glover, who previously served as recruitment head at West Ham under Sam Allardyce, says that the emphasis 12 months on is on bringing in recruits from this country and raiding the domestic market.
He said: “I think the idea is to get that British core right.
“We have got some very good, talented players at Leeds, some of the best you are likely to have.
“It is important that we get the balance right in the dressing room and get the right type of characters to ultimately get this team out of the Championship and into the Premier League where it belongs.
“That is the plan. Carrying it out will be interesting, but that’s the aim – to have a British core. Although we won’t rule out foreign players.
“I had a great relationship with Sam and it will be nice to develop a similar relationship with Uwe (Rosler) now.
“I think the idea is that we will work on things together in terms of potential targets. Obviously, Uwe will have his say as it is his team and he is the one who will pick the side at the end of the day.
“My role will be to come up with targets and potential players and manage that side of it and present the case to the manager as to what we think we can do and then it is a case of trying to make the finances fit.
“It is very much a team effort.”
Glover studied at Leeds Metropolitan University, where he completed a physical education degree before entering into teaching.
After working at Blackburn Rovers’ academy, Glover became a full-time member of the staff at Ewood Park and the club’s chief scout under Allardyce and later accompanied him to West Ham.
Glover is confident that the groundwork being put in will bear fruit in the coming weeks.
He added: “It is an unusual time for me as half the managers in the country have been on holiday and people aren’t where they need to be. But it’s good to get started.
“You do a lot of work now and I am full at it and there’s a lot of work going on. But it’s hard to get things over the line now because other clubs don’t work the same and a lot of managers have been on holiday and want to get players back in at pre-season to see where they are up to before they start making any decisions and buying and selling players.
“It is important that you are all on the same page in what you are trying to achieve and you know your restraints in terms of budgets and then you can work accordingly.
“It is important we work together and get the right type of players in for the right finance.”

Leeds United: Juventus star wanted at Elland Road

Yorkshire Evening Post 28/6/15
ITALIAN international Simone Pepe is understood to be a target for Leeds United after being released by Juventus.
But the 31-year-old winger will also attract the attention of several top Serie A sides after collecting four league title winners’ medals with the ‘Old Lady.’
Pepe started out at home-town club Roma but never played in the first team. He has shone in Serie A for 10 seasons, mainly for Udinese and Juventus, scoring 29 goals in 219 games despite being hindered by injuries in recent seasons.
He has been linked with the Elland Road club since April, after Leeds owner Massimo Cellino said he was interested in bringing a series of Italian-based players to the club.
Ahead of his release Pepe, who appeared for Italy at the 2010 World Cup, said: “I have spent five fantastic years in amazing company at Juventus. I have given my heart and soul. Juventus have understood me and will keep an incredible feeling forever.”
Pepe joined Udinese midway through the 2005–06 campaign in a co-ownership deal, for €500,000, along with Salvatore Masiello and Nicola Santoni as part of the David Di Michele deal for €5.35m.
Juventus signed Pepe on loan for €2.6m in June, 2010, with the option to sign him permanently for €7.5m in July.
He scored five times in 30 matches in his first season in Turin.
If Leeds are unable to attract Pepe to England then a player closer to home could be on their radar.
With United striker Billy Sharp being linked with a return to Sheffield United, Leeds are likely to insist that Scotland Under-21 winger Jamie Murphy is part of any package.
Murphy has scored 17 goals in 94 appearances since joining the Blades from Motherwell in 2013 and signed a new contract in January, keeping him at Bramall lane until the summer of 2017.
Sheffield-born Sharp has scored just five goals in 33 appearances for Leeds since signing a two-year deal from Southampton in August, 2014.
The 29-year-old began his career with the Blades and returned from Scunthorpe in 2007, scoring eight goals in 51 games before netting 40 in 82 appearaqnces for Doncaster Rovers ahead of a £1.8m move to Southampton in January, 2012.