Value. We all want, but what is it? In football, rarely does a transfer pass without it being bandied about, a non-tangible metric by which to assess the merits (or otherwise) of sales and acquisitions.

To make Chris Wood’s next outing black and white, around £25 million was wired to a bank account in the name of Alan Pace.

Social media (yes, yes, not exactly the epicentre of measured opinion) was its usual explosive self. Gary Lineker tweeted “20 million” and an emoji suggesting his mind was blown.

Now, although it’s odd that someone who knows all about the value of goals tapped out that mini-opinion, highlight it is intended as a criticism. Quite the opposite in fact; Lineker is about as level-headed and on the pulse as football pundits come. Which makes it all the more intriguing that he sees the fee as high?

Which brings us back to value then. It cannot be determined on a headline figure alone. Context might not be everything, but it’s certainly an awful lot.

Here then, is an attempt to find some, both for Wood and Newcastle’s January business in general.

First, a standalone figure, it doesn’t seem particularly unreasonable.

Over the years the baseline number for Premier League captures. What you once got for £15 million – say, for example, a record-breaking centre-forward – you can now stick a zero on the end.

For a one in three man (49 goals in 144 top-flight appearances for Burnley) then, is £25 million all that bad? Most reading this will already have seen the comparisons drawn between Wood and Callum Wilson.

If Wood plays out the season, Newcastle might expect a return of five to seven goals. Given that only two of the current squad have bagged more than one – Wilson and Allan Saint-Maximin. Well, draw your own conclusion.

Plenty are getting hung up on the short-termism issue. And by issue, it’s that at 30, Wood isn’t one for the future. Absolutely fine: the future is now.

Newcastle both can (literally) afford to be – see below – and can’t afford not to be (in terms of league position) short-sighted.  And they are being so; there cannot be many signings on similar fees to be on deals lasting only 2 and a half years.

Looking beyond the next six months is relatively pointless. Everything can, and must, be geared into survival. How is that achieved? Simply by bettering Norwich, Burnley and Watford for the next 5 months.  What comes after that, is an issue for May.

Wood, compared to previous stop-gaps, is on a difference level. Think Antoine Sibierski, Fabrice Pancrate and Shefki Kuqi.  Newcastle have just acquired one only six players to hit double figures in the each of the last Premier League campaigns. With any luck, Wood will have a couple of years at St James’ Park in the top-flight.

Failing that, he’s ready made for a Championship promotion campaign (his last full season at that level brought 27 goals and 4 assists in 44 games (2016/17).

Think too about where Wood came from. Reports of some sort of anti-Newcastle pact amongst the other 19 Premier League shareholders may be wide of the mark, but nonetheless prising an asset away from another side in the division was never going to be easy. Let alone, for the time being at least, a direct rival. So triggering a release clause was likely the only way.

Not only are Newcastle up a forward, but Burnley lose one. Sean Dyche may take all his gravelly fury and put it into pulling of the coup of the 21st century. But he may also not. And Burnley could drop a point or three as a result.

Now shift a little and stare purely at the financials. There are plenty of zeros riding on Premier League status. Imprecise as it may be, the oft used number is £100m; that is the approximate difference between a season in tier-one and two.

Watford, a game short of half-way, are currently 17th with 13 points. So even allowing for a little up-tick, it’s perfectly plausible that a team may survive with 28-30 points. Newcastle currently have 11 with 19 games remaining. And Wood can score those five goals (see above), and bring a couple of wins, maybe a draw or two…well, fee repaid.

There is value too in – shudder – the ‘project’. It may not be tangible but time has a worth. One can get more money, but not more time. Relegation sets that back 12 months minimum. Hang your £25 million on that if you fancy.

And finally, and perhaps most importantly, is this; the cash simply doesn’t matter.

In any corporate due diligence exercise, one of the first things the buyer’s lawyers will do is identify problem areas. Before lifting stones though, they will ask a key question; is the number material to the transaction?

A number with seven – sometimes even eight – zeros on the end, should always be material. But the fact is, it isn’t. If the deal is worth billions, a buyer will often be willing to live with a risk in the tens of millions.

And the same logic, as hard as it is to get one’s head around, applies here. For our current ownership, Wood’s transfer fee just isn’t a material number.

The value of their asset portfolio most likely easily fluctuates by well in excess of this amount daily. It’s a risk to their financial health akin to a paper cut on a human life.

The days where it is ‘X’ or ‘Y’ are long gone; Newcastle United can now have both and, while you’re there, why not throw in ‘Z’.  That might read as arrogant. Take is as you like. It’s the reality though.

The only real question is does Wood get into the matchday 18? Yes. Every single time, and twice on a Saturday. The same would apply to Todd Cantwell, whose also be linked in recent days.

See, £25million doesn’t look so bad now, does it?

SAM DALLING