Nelson Oliveira would be an adequate replacement for Chris Wood Joe August 21, 2017 Leeds United 4 Comments Leeds United’s optimism for the new Championship season began to drain as soon as fans were informed of Chris Wood’s imminent departure. The whites had begun the season fairly well, with a strong opening day win at Bolton Wanderers, followed by back-to-back home draws against Preston and last years play-off semi-finalists Fulham. The two home draws were not ideal, but Preston deserved a point, and Fulham are one of the strongest sides in the division. Nevertheless, both Tom Cairney and Thomas Kalas were injured and like against Preston, Chris Wood had a golden chance to win the game for Leeds, which he squandered. Taking into account Wood’s chances, the draws were slightly frustrating, but with Leeds’ exciting new talents Samu Saiz and Ezgjan Alioski, as well as recruiting well in other areas and maintaining their unbeaten start, the new season optimism was initially still very present. With Wood’s form last season, it was inevitable there would be interest in the former Leicester City striker. Wood scored 27 league goals last season, and 30 in all competitions. This helped the New Zealand captain to finish the season as the Championship’s top scorer, and when you consider Leeds finished seventh, its no surprise Wood has left for the Premier league, although there is slight disappointment with the deal happening this late on in the day. After seeing the quality of Saiz and Alioski in the 2-0 win over Sunderland, it’s evident Leeds have the ability to challenge again this season if they replace Wood adequately, but the frustration comes from knowing with Wood in the current team, Leeds would have a fantastic chance. You have to move on though. What’s done is done and it sounds like Wood was insistent on leaving despite a decent offer from the club. Money always comes first, it’s nothing knew and Leeds fans shouldn’t be surprised. The big task now is finding a suitable replacement for the big Kiwi. With Leeds’ funds and with only a short time remaining in the market, there are a few players who would be realistic and acceptable replacements for Wood, although one in particular would be a perfect fit. As expected, many names have been doing the rounds. Rumours are circulating that Leeds have had a bid rejected for Middlesbrough striker Rudy Gestede. Victor Orta is obviously a fan of the Benin forward and it’s a signing I think many Leeds fans would be happy with, and I believe he would be a decent option to lead Leeds’ attacking line. Although, it would be a surprise if Boro were willing to sell Gestede considering he has started three of their league games, even though Garry Monk has a plethora of strikers to choose from. Norwich City striker Nelson Oliveira has also been mentioned as a possible replacement for Wood. And personally, I think this would be an astute signing. The Portuguese has had an eventful and impressive start to this season’s campaign. Oliveira celebrated his opening day equaliser by taking of his shirt in protest against Daniel Farke benching him. Despite the controversy, he has been extremely effective for the Canaries. The former Forest striker has scored three goals in Norwich’s opening four league games, despite being on the bench for three of them. Oliveira is athletic, feisty and posses decent pace, similar to that of Derby County’s Chris Martin. He also has the attributes to get involved with the teams’ general play much more than Wood did. Norwich have had had a fairly poor start to the season, having picked up just four points with two losses so far. I would be surprised if the Canaries challenged for the play-off places this season, so it would surely be a move Oliveira would be open to, and for a reasonable price, Norwich also probably would be. Many players will have undoubtedly been considered by Orta the board, but what’s imperative is that Leeds get a top striker from the Championship. Out of the names mentioned: Jordan Hugill, Jordan Rhodes, Kenneth Zohore or Gestede would all be acceptable replacements, but with what Leeds are willing to spend, being realistic, and given his quality – Oliveira could be Leeds’ best option.