Newcastle United have announced the signing of Alexander Isak from Real Sociedad. The fee is reportedly 59m around total. The initial fee is 54.8m, with an additional 4.2m in add-ons, as well as a 10% sell-on clause. This smashes the previous record of 40m for Brazillian midfielder Joelinton, who was also meant to be Newcastle’s number 9 of the future. Isak has reportedly signed a 5 year deal with the club.
The Swedish striker, once deemed the next Zlatan, arrives after a season in which he had 10 goals across all competitions For Real Sociedad. This marks 4 straight seasons for the striker with double-digit goals, a feat that is impressive in its own right, but even more impressive when you consider the striker is only 22 years-old. Some fans are rightfully skeptical of his most recent season, which produced an unimpressive league tally of 6 goals. This lower total is quite possibly due to Sociedad bringing in another striker, Alexander Sørloth, and changing from a 4-2-3-1 to a 4-4-2. This meant Isak went from a lone striker to a strike partnership where he had less space to operate in and fewer chances to score overall.
Isak has been an exciting young prospect with a lot of hype since he scored his first professional goal at 16, and scored his first national team goal at 17 years old. Since then he has been a mainstay in the Swedish National team effectively holding down the number 9 spot in place of Zlatan Ibrahimovic. Isak like many young players was snapped up by Borussia Dortmund where he had an unimpressive couple of seasons before going out on loan to Willem II. His campaign at Willem II saw him tear up the Dutch League, scoring 14 goals and adding in 7 assists in just 18 total appearances for the team. This led him to a move to Real Sociedad where he has scored double-digit goals in every season he has played.
Isak, although 6’4”, is not a traditional number 9. He is not a holdup play striker who plays with his back to the goal and is waiting for balls to be whipped in out wide. Isak is a technically gifted midfielder who often drops into the midfield to help progress the ball up the pitch. Similarly to Allan Saint-Maximin and Joelinton he is capable of bursts of speed to get past defenders coupled with his impressive dribbling ability. He is however still a striker and averages 3 shots a match with 7 touches inside the box per match. Like Callum Wilson, he is athletic enough to get in behind, comfortable in possession, and has a knack for being in the right positions to score goals. He should slot in nicely with Newcastle’s counterattacking high press, and could be even more effective in spells in which Newcastle have a lot of possession. A return to a system where he is the sole striker could be exactly what Isak needs to return to high goalscoring numbers, and he should have that opportunity at Newcastle. The below thread from Twitter user @Edit_Kev gives an additional look into the data that shows us exactly why Newcastle were targeting Isak and the potential fit he has in the side.
So #NUFC linked with a big-money move for Alexander Isak this afternoon.— Kev Lawson (@Edit_Kev) July 12, 2022
The young (22) striker is often described as a unicorn for his mixture of size & technical ability.
But this move has me hyped, so I thought I'd do a 1/ #NUFC
Another thread by Twitter user @nufcsanjay pairs some of the data Kevin writes about with some film breakdown as well.
THREAD : Alexander Isak - Newcastle United's Phenomenal New Forward#NUFC are about to smash their transfer record, with the 22 year-old striker on the verge of signing for around £58m. Why's he so highly rated, and why have the club chosen to make him our marquee signing? pic.twitter.com/Ur94WuXSpo— Sanjay (@nufcsanjay) August 25, 2022
With Callum Wilson’s unfortunate injury history, it would not be surprising to see the striker get a heavy amount of play time. Wilson is already going to be sidelined for the next month with an injury, so Isak could be thrust into the starting XI sooner rather than later.
Isak becomes Newcastle’s 4th signing of the window joining Nick Pope, Matt Targett, and Sven Botman. Isak potentially solves Newcastle’s striker woes, but it remains to be seen if Newcastle will bring in another attacking option.