It has today been reported by various sources that Newcastle United are close to completing the signing of Swedish international striker Alexander Isak from Real Sociedad for a club record fee of £58 million.
This deal, should it be completed, would eclipse the £40 million paid both to Hoffenheim for Joelinton in 2019 and to Lyon for Bruno Guimaraes in January.
Who is Alexander Isak?
Isak came through the ranks at Swedish side AIK making his debut aged 16 and he scored ten goals in 24 appearances alerting Borussia Dortmund who moved to secure his signature in January 2017.
He stayed with the German giants for two years before moving to Real Sociedad for £13.5 million in the summer of 2019.
The 22 year old has scored 44 goals in 132 appearances for the Spanish club with the last of those goals coming in a 4-1 defeat to Barcelona last Sunday.
Alexander Isak also has 37 caps for the Swedish national team having scored 9 goals. Isak scored the first of these when he was just 17 years old making him Sweden’s youngest ever goalscorer.
A Good Signing?
The news of this deal being came slightly out of the blue but when you consider that their main striker Callum Wilson had complained about hamstring tightness in the Toon’s 3-3 draw with champions Manchester City it is not that surprising they are looking for attacking reinforcements, especially when you consider Wilson’s injury record.
In fact, Newcastle have been on the hunt for striking reinforcements all summer having previously been linked with former Reims striker Hugo Ekitike who ended up up joining French Champions Paris Saint Germain. The Magpies have also been linked with a £30 million move for Watford striker Joao Pedro, though with this signing a move for the Brazilian may be up in the air.
Alexander Isak is a similar profile to both Ekitike and Pedro as he is a young striker with significant potential, but also one who has played top flight football in one of Europe’s top leagues.
According to the Scouted Football handbook, Isak is a player with fantastic technical ability who has consistently brilliant close control in tight spaces. He can also shift both the ball and his body in alternate directions very sharply which is made all the more impressive when you take into account his tall frame.
He is a player with blistering pace which could be very useful for Newcastle should they wish to pair Isak up front with the physical presence of either Callum Wilson or Chris Wood. This pace has helped prove himself as a strong counter-attacking threat which could help Newcastle massively in games against the top six.
He has a great awareness for creating space and also has both the confidence and ability to take shots with either foot.
Despite all this, there are some weaknesses to his game which is understandable given he is only 22. For such a tall player Isak has yet to master the physical side of the game. He is also not particularly dominant in the air but if paired alongside someone like Chris Wood this would not be a huge issue.
Newcastle have signed a striker with a huge potential who is already playing at a high level and can only improve. As a much needed attacking addition it seems to be a good signing.
Value For Money?
The big question that will naturally be asked of Isak will be whether or not he is worth the £58 million fee, this could still rise to over £60 million when add-ons are taken into account.
This deal will be the most expensive sale in Real Sociedad’s history and is potentially the first time that we have really seen the Newcastle owners utilise their financial muscle to get a deal over the line since the takeover was completed.
Newcastle have already agreed personal terms with Alexander Isak and his agents. Final details discussed on add-ons structure and then deal completed with Real Sociedad, set to be signed. 🚨⚪️⚫️ #NUFC
Club record fee for Newcastle, also record sale for Real Sociedad. pic.twitter.com/nUfn0zd7XL
— Fabrizio Romano (@FabrizioRomano) August 24, 2022
Is a player who only scored 6 goals in 32 appearances last season really worth a fee in the region of £60 million?
Ultimately, the price tag is a reflection of the current market in football. A great number of transfer fees are over-inflated. That is not to say that Newcastle should not sign him or a criticism of how much they are willing to pay. It is also not a criticism of Isak as a player. It is just a general observation that in order to sign quality players in this market you often have to pay over the odds.
There is naturally risk that the Swedish striker fails to live up to the price tag but, given the fact the Isak is still young and will continue to develop playing in the Premier League, Newcastle could easily make their money back and a significant amount on top of it in a couple of seasons. It is also likely given his overall scoring record in Spain that he will, in time, score consistently for Newcastle.
Should the deal go through it will represent Newcastle’s fourth signing of the summer following the arrivals of Matt Targett, Sven Botman and Nick Pope.