New Zealand striker Chris Wood joined Newcastle
from Burnley on Thursday in the club’s second January signing in a
reported £25 million deal. The Tyneside club triggered the release clause in
Wood’s contract to bolster their attacking options.

Newcastle signed England fullback Kieran
from reigning La Liga champions Atletico Madrid earlier this month in
what was the first transfer move under the club’s new Saudi ownership.

Meanwhile, Aston Villa’s ambitions have
been reflected in the clubs’ busy transfer window so far, with French left-back
Lucas Digne joining the Midlands club from Everton after the arrival of Barcelona midfielder
Philippe Coutinho on loan last week.

Digne, who fell out with manager Rafael Benitez
and had put in a transfer request, has joined the Villans in a deal up to £25

Digne took to Instagram to share a lengthy farewell
message for Everton, saying, “From Day One the Evertonians have received me
with a lot of warm feelings, and I am forever thankful for that.”

Without naming former Liverpool boss Benitez,
Digne said, “Sometimes it only takes one person from outside to destroy a beautiful
love affair.”

Wood’s acquisition is a signal of intent
from Newcastle, the richest club in world football since the Saudi takeover, which
has poached one of the best players of a direct relegation rival.

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Wood has only scored three times this
season but has regularly reached double figures in goals over recent years. He
will fill the gap vacated by Callum Wilson, who could be out until March
because of a calf injury.

“Chris is an important signing for us at a
crucial time,” Newcastle manager Eddie Howe said, “and I’m very pleased we
have been able to move quickly and bring him here.

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“He is a very dangerous attacking threat,
has a physicality and character that I really like, and he has vast experience
in the Premier League,” Howe added. “He will be a great fit for us.”

Newcastle are 19th in the league,
level on 11 points with Burnley although Sean Dyche’s men have played two games
fewer. Aston Villa are 14th in the league, 11 points off safety.

(With inputs from the Associated Press)