Why Cauley Woodrow could be an excellent signing for Leeds United

According to claims from reliable journalist Alan Nixon of The Sun, as cited by Leeds Live, Leeds United have been linked with a move for Barnsley striker Cauley Woodrow during the January transfer window. 

As per the report, Leeds United’s Director of Football, Victor Orta, has identified the 25-year-old Tykes hitman as a like-for-like replacement for Eddie Nketiah, who is now back in North London after Arsenal opted to terminate his loan agreement at Elland Road midway through the campaign.

Woodrow, who plundered 19 goals in 36 appearances across all competitions to fire Barnsley to automatic promotion in the League One the last term, has been one of the bright sparks of a sinking ship at Oakwell in the second-tier this season, scoring 9 times in 22 appearances so far. 

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Cauley Woodrow fired Barnsley to automatic promotion in League One with 19 goals in 36 appearances last season (Getty Images)

Leeds Live understands that any deal to bring Woodrow to West Yorkshire in January could require a significant outlay in the market, given that the in-form 25-year-old holds the key to Barnsley’s chances of survival in the Championship under Gerhard Struber.

Born in Hertfordshire, Woodrow started his professional career at Luton Town as a teenager before moving on to join Fulham, where he scored 12 goals in 66 appearances, including one in six Premier League appearances. 

Having spent time on loan at Southend United, Burton Albion, Bristol City and Barnsley over the course of his spell at Craven Cottage, the 25-year-old opted to join the Tykes on a permanent deal in January 2019 on the back of a successful loan stint at Oakwell. 

Meanwhile, Leeds United currently sit atop the standings in the Championship after 26 games, just above nearest rivals West Brom on goal difference. The Whites have once again established themselves as strong favourites in the automatic promotion race this term. 

The West Yorkshire giants had been in a similar position of strength in the previous campaign before a blip over the Easter period proved damaging to their automatic promotion hopes and the Whites eventually fell short in their pursuit of a much-awaited return to the Premier League via the playoffs. 

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Woodrow has scored 9 goals in the Championship so far this season for a relegation-threatened Barnsley side (Getty Images)

Marcelo Bielsa has done exceedingly well to inspire his team to yet another promotion surge this season but the Argentine tactician will need to make sure that they are no such slip-ups this time around. 

To that end, Leeds need to find a reliable back-up to first-choice striker Patrick Bamford, who has netted 10 times in 25 appearances for the Whites so far in the Championship this term. 

Nketiah was the designated understudy during the first half of the season but with the youngster no longer in the frame, Bielsa doesn’t have anyone to fill the void should Bamford suffer an injury. With fixtures set to come thick and fast during a brutal second half of the campaign, Leeds need to ensure that they have all their bases covered. 

To put things into perspective, it is a no-brainer that Nketiah’s departure has left a massive void at Elland Road and Cauley Woodrow looks like an excellent option for the Whites in the January window, given that the 25-year-old fits the bill of a proven goalscorer in the Championship.

Verdict

A former England U21 international, Woodrow has more than held his own in a relegation-threatened Barnsley side this term, scoring nine goals in the process. His previous experience at Bristol City and Fulham in the second-tier means that he could possibly settle down quickly in West Yorkshire. 

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Leeds United have identified Woodrow as a replacement for Eddie Nketiah (Getty Images)

The current situation at Elland Road necessitates the arrival of a tried and tested striker in the Championship and it is easy to see why Woodrow would provide Bielsa with some quality cover in front of the goal to help the Whites in their bid for promotion. 

Furthermore, the 25-year-old is a player in the right age bracket and Leeds might as well look forward to him making the step up to the Premier League should they manage to secure promotion. 

It remains to be seen whether Barnsley would sanction a departure for their top-scorer in January, with the threat of relegation looming large at Oakwell but that shouldn’t stop Leeds from testing the Tykes’ resolve over the talented striker. 

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All in all, Leeds United completing a move for Cauley Woodrow in January could well be a stepping stone for a much-anticipated return to the forefront of English football.