American striker Bobby Wood’s last two performances for struggling Hamburg SV have been dismal, but he’s been hampered by a knee injury, is in the midst of $13 million transfer speculation, and was involved in a social media mishap (not his fault).
Hamburg SV, the only founding member of the Bundesliga never to be relegated, has been fighting against the drop all season. Wood assisted on Aaron Hunt’s winning goal in a 2-1 April 8 victory over third-place Hoffenheim – HSV’s last win. But a knee injury sidelined him for the next game, at regional rival Werder Bremen.
HSV tweeted as it departed for Bremen its travel roster, which included Wood, who at the same time posted on Instgram photos of himself at home.
“We didn’t want to give Werder a sense of security so early, that Bobby couldn't play,” said HSV coach Markus Gisdol of the dishonest tweet.
Bremen beat HSV, 2-1. Wood returned for the next two games – both debacles. A 2-1 loss to last-place Darmstadt and a 4-0 loss to another relegation-threatened team, Augsburg.
Kicker Magazine, which uses a 1 through 6 scale to rate players -- a 1 is comparable a report-card A -- rated Wood 6 in both games. (Kicker rarely hands out 6s.)
Gisdol defended Wood, citing his recovery from the knee injury. Gisdol also suspended three players, including former captain Johan Djourou, after the Augsburg loss.
With only one win and four losses in its last five games, HSV is in 16th place of the 18-team league. The 17th and 18th place teams drop straight to the second division while the 16th-place finisher meets the second division’s third-place team in a relegation-promotion playoff.
Wood, who has scored five Bundesliga goals and four in German Cup play, had joined HSV last summer from second division Union Berlin on a $4.4 million transfer fee.
Despite HSV’s struggles, Wood’s play has gotten the attention of Borussia Dortmund, which is looking for a striker to replace Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, who has scored 27 goals this season and is being courted by the likes of Manchester City. There have also been reports of interest in Wood from English Premier League clubs.
HSV has been trying re-negotiate Wood’s contract, which currently runs through 2020 and reportedly pays Wood $1.6 million a year at HSV. His current contract also has a $13 million release clause – very affordable for a team like Borussia Dortmund.
Kicker reported last Friday that USA coach Bruce Arena would be visiting HSV to discuss Wood’s future with HSV sports director Jens Todt.
“He doesn’t want to leave,” said Gisdol. “But others want to buy him. And it’s also crazy in soccer when there’s so much money involved, because then it’s also about his future. So he has to consider his options, because he’s a great player with a great perspective. But he also likes it here very much. That’s why I think we have a good chance that he’ll continue to play for us.”
Time is running out for HSV, which also wants to up the release clause figure, to meet Wood’s demands for a new contract for a higher salary.
And should HSV get relegated, Wood’s release clause drops to $5.5 million.
Hamburg SV (16th place/33 pts.) Schedule
May 7 vs. Mainz (currently: 14th place; 33 pts.)
May 13 at Schalke (10th/41)
May 20 vs. VfL Wolfsburg (15th/33)