With Anthony Modeste’s move to the Chinese Super League imminent, it is now time to take our box of photos and all the stuff he has left in our apartments and set it on fire. The relationship is over, we loved him but it turns out that he’s just not that into us. Now we could easily sulk and dig in to a few pints of Ben and Jerry’s and cry our eyes out, but we shouldn’t. We need to pick ourselves up, put on a sey outfit and go out and hoe it up and find ourselves a new striker.
So the main question is: who is it going to be? We have more money than we ever have before, and the lure of Europa League football to attract talent, so we can cast a fairly wide net. Obviously we cannot go out and get Alvaro Morata, Kylian Mbappe or even the Savior Zlatan; but a top quality striker is out there for the picking.
For the next few days, and until we sign a new striker, we will be going over some of the top options that there are out there for us to go after.
Transfer Target: Bobby Wood
Current Club: Hamburger SV
Nationality: United States of America
Let’s start with one that is, if you believe what is coming out of the German mainstream media, the most likely person to take over for Modeste, American international and current Bundesliga starter Bobby Wood.
Bobby Wood is a very intriguing option for the Billy Goats. Outside the United States he is a relatively unknown striker, but he has slowly carved out a ver respectable career in Germany.
Wood was born in Hawaii, before moving to California to further his footballing career with an Irvine based youth club; before being invited to join the youth academy of 1860 Munich. This is obviously well before the financial issues that 1860 are currently experiencing, and at the time this move was very impressive, because 1860 was still viewed as a prominent develop of young talent. Incidentally fellow United States Men’s National Team(USMNT) member Fabian Johnson advanced through the ranks at 1860, however he was born in Munich so it was completely different situation.
Wood spent the next three seasons with 1860’s youth squad before make his debut with the senior squad in 2011 at the age of 18. While with 1860 would was not as prolific a striker as one would hope, netting only 3 goals in 50 league appearances, although he had a fairly successful loan spell with FC Erzgebirge Aue, while they were in the 2.Bundesliga, scoring 3 goals in 9 appearances. Following Aue’s disappointing relegation to the 3.liga Wood was allowed to join 2.Bundesliga side Union Berlin for an undisclosed fee. It is at Berlin where his career would, much like Jon Snow rising from the dead to take back Winterfell from the control of the bastard Ramsey, begin to rise again. Wood became the focal point of the Union offense and in 31 league appearances he scored an impressive 17 times, setting a record for most single season goals by an American in Germany’s top two divisions. This was deemed good enough by Hamburg to warrant Der Dino taking a chance and signing the Hawaiian up to a four-year deal and giving him chance to ply his trade in the top flight for the very first time.
In his sole season in the Bundesliga Wood’s results were mixed. he made a total of 32 appearances in all competitions and scored 9 goals. These are not horrible numbers, but they are inflated by the fact that he scored 4 times in 4 DFB Pokal games. He also served a three match ban for striking Köln defender Dominique Heintz in a very sensitive part of his anatomy. Would this tension be able to be put aside if Wood moved to Köln this summer? I like to think so.
However, when he joined Hamburg a €12 million release clause was inserted into his contract. So the question remains, is he worth that much investment?
In order to answer that question we need to look at how he would fit into the system of the team. Peter Stöger has built this team on solid defense, speed and counter-attacking football. It is the belief in this system that has taken this team from the second division and up the table to a Europa League spot. So does Wood fit into this system?
To properly answer that question it is possibly more important to look at Wood’s form with the USMNT. Wood was given his first senior team call up to the USMNT by former coach Jürgen Klinsmann, and under both Klinsmann and his successor Bruce Arena Wood has flourished, becoming a key member of the side and scoring clutch goals against the like of The Netherlands, Germany and Costa Rica.Why is this important? Under Klinsmann, and continued under Arena, The United States has played an unattractive style of football that relies heavily on seeding possession and relying on speed and counter-attacking to score goals. It is in this system that Wood, with his tremendous pace and excellent positional awareness, has been able to thrive. You only need to look at his crucial extra time goal against Mexico in the CONCACAF Playoff to see how well he would fit into our system. It could only be more of a “Köln” goal if it were scored at the RheinEnergieStadion.
Pros: Excellent Pace, Exceptional Positional Awareness, Familiarity with Bundesliga football, High potential, Fits the system, Position Flexibility
Cons: Not a Proven Top Flight goal scorer, Questionable Decision Making Skills(i.e. the punch to Heintz), A Little Expensive For His Pedigree
Overall I think he would be a tremendous fit. He is a little on the expensive side, with a required fee of at least €12 million to secure his transfer, but he has a very high potential ceiling and in a few years could make that fee seem like a steal. It is important to remember he currently plays for a side that is in a rebuilding phase, and very often his lack of goals are a result of not getting scoring opportunities. With proper service from the likes of Risse, Bittencourt, Hector, Osako, et al, he could easily fill the void that was left by Modeste’s departure. I think it would be a good signing and fully support it getting done.