Dan Ashworth could be on the brink of signing off a major Newcastle United transfer, with Chris Wood reportedly close to joining Nottingham Forest on loan.

This claim comes from the Times, who have stated that Forest and the Magpies are in talks over a temporary deal for the 31-year-old striker.

The report comes as a huge surprise, as it was only December when the Telegraph reported that the Toon hierarchy had no plans to let Wood leave during the January transfer window – either on loan or permanently.

But a change of heart could seemingly be on the horizon, with the Times believing Wood is close to becoming a Nottingham Forest player for the rest of the season.

It would not be the biggest blow in the world to Newcastle, despite Wood being a reliable performer since his £25million move 12 months ago. He is now the third choice striker at St James’ Park after Alexander Isak’s return to fitness.

Newcastle United v Leicester City - Carabao Cup Quarter Final
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However, Eddie Howe and co would certainly be taking a risk if they decide to let Wood leave without guaranteeing a replacement.

Newcastle need replacement before letting Chris Wood join Forest

If Wood is to remain at St James’ Park for the rest of the season, he will know that he is not likely to play much. His minutes would largely depend on those ahead of him in the pecking order picking up an injury.

That is why Wood played so much in the first half of the season. Both Callum Wilson and Isak have endured spells on the sidelines, leaving the former Burnley man to lead the line.

In that respect, it is understandable if Wood wants to head to the City Ground. However, we can’t afford to not bring in a replacement.

While Isak is not injury prone, he has only just returned to fitness. As for Wilson, injuries have followed him throughout his career. It would therefore be bold, and perhaps foolish, for Newcastle to tackle the rest of the season with just those two as their striker options – especially as we bid to secure Champions League football.

Ashworth simply has to bring in a forward this month if the club are serious about sanctioning Wood’s exit. It doesn’t have to be an out-and-out striker. It could, and probably should, be a versatile attacker who can play either out wide or through the middle.

Newcastle have been linked with plenty of players like that over the past 12 months. Joao Pedro and Marcus Thuram have been rumoured targets, while the club failed to sign Hugo Ekitike.

Signing someone versatile would give Howe more options in attack, whilst ensuring that we still have depth in reserve.

Wood’s departure will be accepted by fans, but only if a replacement is on the horizon.

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