NEWCASTLE: The arrival of Alexander Isak is making Eddie Howe excited — and the head coach believes Newcastle United fans should be too.
The Sweden international frontman on Friday sealed a move to United believed to be worth $70 million, breaking the club’s previous record purchase by more than $20 million.
Former Real Sociedad and Borussia Dortmund forward Isak has penned a six-year deal on Tyneside. And it represents a huge coup for the Magpies, with the 22-year-old very much seen as one of Europe’s hottest prospects, courted by every major club on the planet.
Howe said: “He’s had a lot thrown at him for a young player. The experiences he’s had is incredible really for someone so young. He’s played in Germany, Holland, and Spain — big clubs as well — at a very young age. He’s had some great experiences.
“England and the English game will suit his profile. He’s a really good athlete and technically very good so I think he’s got a whole host of things going for him. His best years are still ahead of him,” he added.
On the excitement building among the Geordie faithful, Howe said: “I can understand. I’m excited about trying to bring good players to Newcastle. If we can complete the transfer, I’ll be excited too.”
United’s transfer plans were altered this week when the news of Callum Wilson’s hamstring injury was revealed.
The experienced striker, who has two goals in his first three games this season, is likely to be out for a number of weeks with a hamstring problem, the type of issue that has blighted his time at St. James’ Park.
And this forced a transfer war room rethink, with United’s search for a wide forward shelved in order to plough funds into getting the deal for Isak done.
United’s interest in Isak goes back to the start of the summer when a fee could not be agreed, however former Bournemouth and Burnley boss Howe has been keeping a watch on the player for some time.
Speaking ahead of Sunday’s game with Wolverhampton Wanderers, he said: “I don’t know the exact date but the first time I saw him play was for Sweden many years ago and I was immediately hugely impressed. He instantly caught my eye.
“Always when you’re trying to do transfers, there’s two things. The selling club and the buying club, they’ve got to meet. If they don’t meet, the transfer won’t get done. Thankfully, they seem to have come together for us.
“He’ll add pace, technical ability, dribbling ability. He’s got a bit of X factor about him, he’s slightly different, and is capable of scoring,” Howe added.
Top scorer from the last two seasons Wilson, will be frustrated to likely miss at least United’s next three games.
Howe knows the player he signed and sold to United while on the south coast with the Cherries, will come back stronger than ever.
He said: “Naturally with Callum’s injury — which we don’t believe to be serious by the way, we’re hopeful Callum will only be out for a couple of weeks.
“But naturally, we acted slightly off of that in terms of we were always looking for an attacking player, but it changed our focus slightly on the type. We’re delighted to hopefully sign Alex — he’ll be a big player for us.
“I back Callum 100 percent. I’ve known him for a long time, and I’ve never known someone with a better attitude to sport and a better professional.
“He is hugely disappointed to miss every game but I back him and his quality. He’s such an important part of our future this season. He’s already shown that with the goals that he’s scored — the two goals he’s scored have been at the highest level. I don’t doubt him for a second,” Howe added.
It has been a long time since United have possessed two top strikers in their ranks and while the system Howe plays at present would not have room for both, when fit, he is not ruling out playing them together.
Howe said: “I see them playing together. I think they’re very different players so, if the transfer is completed, it’s something I can definitely envisage. Alex is a very, very different player to Callum vice versa but they’ve both got unique strengths.”