Alexander Isak – A statement of intent from NUFC hierarchy

This afternoon, reports surfaced in Spain – and were later corroborated by UK outlets – that NUFC have agreed a club record deal for Real Sociedad’s Alexander Isak. Those who pay attention to European football will know of the 22-year-old Swede, who has been heavily rated for two or three years and was reportedly close to a move to Arsenal earlier this year.

What will Alexander Isak bring?

Alexander Isak is a strong, athletic striker who will bring a very different type of threat to the Newcastle United attack. Standing at 1.92m (6’3″), Isak is aerially dominant, a quick mover and pretty decent on the ball – so could very much transform our offence.

Last season, it must be said that his offensive output in terms of goals perhaps wasn’t as high as you may expect given the £58m price-tag. He bagged 10 goals in 41 appearances across all competitions in the last campaign, which is a figure that doesn’t immediately strike you as ‘prolific’. However, what we’re concentrating on here is the height of the ceiling Isak has – which as you may have guessed, is astronomically high.

Alexander Isak opened his account in La Liga this weekend with a lovely chipped finish against Barcelona

This is a young man who has been courted by some of the top clubs in Europe. Arsenal came close to signing him in the January transfer window earlier this year, but they thought the fee was a little too high. There is a lot to like about this young man and, from an analytical standpoint, @edit_Kev put together a fascinating threat on Twitter earlier this summer, which you can find here.

I don’t want to steal Kev’s hard work so please, for the full analysis, read his thread using the link above. However, I will give you some of the highlights. From a goalscoring point of view, his expected stats show he should have scored far more goals than he did last season. Kev concluded that the reason behind the deficit was purely bad luck in a lot of instances, and used his stats from the season prior to show that his poor numbers are “unlikely to be repeated”, in Kev’s words.

Kev went on to talk about the addition of Dennis Sørloth to the Sociedad side and how that meant Isak was unable to play as a lone striker as much as he would have liked, costing him “high-value real estate” during attacks. Again, to see the full analysis, take a look at Kev’s thread here.

Will Isak start ahead of Callum Wilson?

In short, yes… but not at first. In my opinion, and I must stress that this is just that – an opinion, I think Callum Wilson will continue as the club’s primary goal-getter in the early stages of Isak’s time on Tyneside. That is, of course, provided he can stay fit. Wilson was withdrawn from the game against Manchester City this past weekend with a hamstring strain, and we’re still waiting to find out the results of the scan.

Callum Wilson bagged his second goal of the campaign this weekend against Manchester City with a lovely finish

If the results are clear – or at the very least would see him out for only a week or two, I would expect to see Callum Wilson continue in his role as the club’s leading striker in the short-term. I see Isak as more of a long-term solution to the number nine role at the club. Wilson isn’t exactly getting any younger and at 22, Isak still has nearly his whole career ahead of him.

If Wilson does end up being out for a while, then I expect to see Isak thrown into the mix at the earliest possible opportunity. For all his attributes within the team, I don’t think Chris Wood is the answer to our problem in attack should Wilson be hurt. So, the answer is probably… maybe… but who knows? That clear it up? Great.

What does it the Isak deal mean for other targets?

Most outlets are reporting that the proposed £30m deal for Watford’s Brazilian attacker João Pedro IS still on the table, and the Isak deal will have no baring on it. According to Sky Sports’ Keith Downie earlier today, we could still bring in another one or two players AFTER the Isak deal is confirmed – should everything go smoothly with it.

Newcastle are reportedly looking to add another forward, who has the ability to operate from a wide area – a brief that Pedro suits quite well. As well as that, reports would suggest that we’re in the market for another central midfielder given the long-term injury to Jonjo Shelvey. Luke Edwards of the Telegraph believes that Dan Ashworth and the NUFC board are pushing hard for Conor Gallagher of Chelsea on a loan deal. A signing which I believe would be a real coup for us.

Just over a week to go in this window, and still plenty of work to be done. We ended the window strongly in January, and we could be in for a very similar to end to this summer window too. Fasten your seatbelts ladies and gents – it’s gonna be a long week.

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