The renaissance at Newcastle United is in full swing. The new Saudi owners have entrusted Eddie Howe to build a team that can go toe to toe with the biggies of the Premier League and seal a spot for Europe next season.
To denote their seriousness of intent, the Saudi Public Investment Fund has pumped in a significant amount of capital that will allow the influx of marquee players and give the Magpies a taste of better days.
However, an injury to their star forward, Callum Wilson left the club in a bit of a conundrum lately. They needed someone to pick up the baton in the front line and continue the charge towards the finish line. And the timing couldn’t have been better for a young forward.
The club had earlier given up on the 22-year-old Swedish international Alexander Isak, but the absence of Wilson forced them to rethink their strategy.
In the dire attempt to salvage this situation, the director of football at Newcastle, Dan Ashworth, got to work and finally managed a deal with the Spanish side, Real Sociedad, to bring Isak to the shores of England.
Isak, who has been dubbed as the new ‘Zlatan Ibrahimovic’, is a 22-year-old centre-forward from Sweden who enjoyed a breakthrough campaign with La Real in 2020/21, scoring 17 goals in 34 appearances in La Liga.
Although he was initially at Borussia Dortmund who loaned him to Dutch Eredivisie club Willem II in 2018-19, his impressive performances forced La Real’s hand and immediately brought him to Spain with a €10 million bid.
Isak flourished in Spain, even picking up a Copa Del Rey trophy with the club. The analysts described him as a tall and sturdy centre-forward who can brush defenders apart and beat them with pace. His physicality allows him to dominate just like Zlatan and his movements are tricky to mark for many defenders.
Newcastle, who is turning a new leaf, noted his improving performances and broke the bank to get him onboard. In a record signing, the Magpies spent £59 million to secure the services of the young Swede and beat Arsenal, Juventus, and Everton, who were circling to sign him.
Isak knew his potential and at the earlier stages negotiated with Newcastle for a £200,000 a week wage but eventually lowered his expectations and settled for £120,000 a week, as confirmed by The Guardian.
However, his new wage at Newcastle is an exorbitant jump from his minimal salary at Real Sociedad. As reported by salarysport.com, Isak was earning £19,000 a week during his first season in Spain, but the promise of a better future compelled La Real to increase his wage to £48,000 a week.
Even though Newcastle can now justify a high wage structure, it remains to be seen whether Isak will truly rise to the occasion and deliver consistently. Howe needs to refine him for thorough success, as the harsh ways of the Premier League do not sit well in Spain. The promise exists, but Isak shouldn’t be hailed as Newcastle’s saviour, not yet at least.