Former Arsenal midfielder Paul Merson has blasted Eddie Howe and the Newcastle United board’s transfer decisions in the January transfer window.
This week, striker Chris Wood departed St James’ Park on a loan move to Nottingham Forest, who are fighting to keep their place in the top flight after a dismal start to the season.
The New Zealand international made his debut for his new side this afternoon against Bournemouth and his stay in the Midlands could become permanent in the summer, as Newcastle have included a buy clause in the agreement.
Howe likely thought the forward would not be needed due to club-record signing Alexander Isak returning from injury and Callum Wilson being available for selection after fitness concerns. Both players were often preferred to Wood before his departure, which is proven by the fact he had started just four league matches this season for the Magpies.
Merson on Wood exit
Merson was shocked at the transfer and voices his concerns on Sky Sports News, saying: “Flabbergasted. Honestly, flabbergasted. I like Wilson and Isak. But one’s been out [for] a long time injured [and] the other one, you don’t seem to get a run of games – Wilson – where he’s fit consistently.
”Wood comes in and does the job. He comes across as a good pro. Not just that, he’s at the other end, as well, when he’s defending. When they’re keeping clean sheets, it’s not luck – they defend corners very well. He comes back [and] he clears stuff.
“For what they’re selling him for, I cannot believe it. It wouldn’t surprise me in three weeks if the two centre-forwards were injured and they haven’t got a forward to put on upfront… If you’re Newcastle, you do the business first and then you get rid of Wood.”