Alexander Isak to Newcastle United: Style of play, Arsenal links & Zlatan Ibrahimovic comparisons

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The Magpies are close to breaking their transfer record with a £58million deal for the Sweden striker.

Newcastle United are rapidly closing in on a club record deal for Real Sociedad striker Alexander Isak.

The Magpies are closing to agree a deal believed to worth around £58million for the Sweden international and ‘advanced talks’ are taking place between the two clubs.

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The highly-rated Sweden international has been linked with the likes of Arsenal and Real Madrid in the recent past - but it now looks like Newcastle will end his three-year stay at Sociedad and hand him a first chance to shine in the Premier League.

But what do we know about the man set to become a Magpies record signing?

‘The new Zlatan’ shows promise at AIK

Isak broke through the youth ranks at AIK, a club where former Magpies flop Andreas Andersson ended his career.

After showing promise in AIK’s academy, Isak wasted little time in making an impact at senior level when he scored as a 16-year-old on his debut in a Swedish Cup tie at fourth-tier club Tenhults in February 2016.

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A full league debut followed two months later when Isak was handed a start in an away game at an Ostersund side managed by current Brighton and Hove Albion boss Graham Potter and he was on target once again when he scored his side’s second goal in a 2-0 win five minutes into the second-half.

Alexander Isak during his time at AIK (Photo ANDERS WIKLUND/AFP via Getty Images)Alexander Isak during his time at AIK (Photo ANDERS WIKLUND/AFP via Getty Images)
Alexander Isak during his time at AIK (Photo ANDERS WIKLUND/AFP via Getty Images) | AFP via Getty Images

A first season in the senior setup at AIK ended with 11 goals in 25 appearances and that was followed by two goals in his first four appearances of the following campaign.

His form led to one team-mate comparing the striker to one of Swedish football’s greatest ever players.

Speaking after Isak scored twice in a 3-0 win over Djurgarden, AIK forward Chinedu Obasi said: “Alexander is a great talent.

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“I don’t want to say too much, but he is extraordinary. He can become the new Zlatan Ibrahimovic.”

Some of European football’s biggest clubs sat up and took notice with the likes of Paris Saint-Germain and Real Madrid all linked with a move for his services.

Zlatan praise!

Perhaps the biggest indication of Isak’s talent is the fact he received approval from his country’s greatest ever player.

Speaking when Isak when a 17-year-old prospect, Zlatan Ibrahimović said: “I have seen him in action and he is fantastic.”

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Real Madrid rejection as Dortmund secure signing of ‘a high-calibre talent’

Just months after becoming Sweden’s youngest ever goalscorer, Isak completed a £7.74million to Bundesliga giants Borussia Dortmund in January 2017 after he reportedly turned down a move to Real Madrid.

Speaking at the time, BVB’s sporting director Michael Zorc said: “Alexander Isak is a high-calibre talent who was wanted by numerous top European clubs.

“We are very glad that he has decided to sign for Borussia Dortmund. BVB is just as convinced as the player that this transfer is a great one.”

Manchester City’s Jason Denayer vies for the ball with Borussia Dortmund’s Alexander Isak (Photo by JIM YOUNG / AFP)  Manchester City’s Jason Denayer vies for the ball with Borussia Dortmund’s Alexander Isak (Photo by JIM YOUNG / AFP)
Manchester City’s Jason Denayer vies for the ball with Borussia Dortmund’s Alexander Isak (Photo by JIM YOUNG / AFP) | AFP via Getty Images

The fee surpassed the Swedish record Malmo received when Zlatan Ibrahimović joined Ajax in 2001 and allowed Isak to work under current Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel as he tested himself at a higher level.

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Isak had to show his patience in Dortmund, making his debut in a cup win over Sportfreude Lotte two months after his arrival and netting his first goal for the club in a win at FC Magdeburg in October of the same year.

However, after making no league appearances during his first full season at Dortmund, Isak joined Dutch club Willem II during the final days of the January 2019 transfer window

He adjusted quickly to life in the Eredivisie by netting 14 goals and providing seven assists during his 18 appearances for his temporary employers before returning to Dortmund at the end of the season.

La Liga move, silverware and a notable win over major rivals

Isak’s Dortmund career came to an end in June 2019 as he made a £13.5million move to La Liga club Real Sociedad.

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Still only 19, Isak quickly set his sights on establishing himself with the Basque club and finding the net with regularity in Spain.

“I am very happy to be here, it has been a very good year and finishing it by signing for Real is very good for me,” he said.

“I really want to start, I’ve heard a lot about the club, I know it’s a young team. I thank you for believing in me and I hope that together we can achieve the objectives.

“I am a player who likes to have the ball, with good technique and who works hard for the team. I think I can help by scoring goals and I hope we do well.”

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Real Sociedad’s forward Alexander Isak celebrates scoring his team’s first goal against Barcelona  (Photo by ANDER GILLENEA/AFP via Getty Images)Real Sociedad’s forward Alexander Isak celebrates scoring his team’s first goal against Barcelona  (Photo by ANDER GILLENEA/AFP via Getty Images)
Real Sociedad’s forward Alexander Isak celebrates scoring his team’s first goal against Barcelona (Photo by ANDER GILLENEA/AFP via Getty Images) | AFP via Getty Images

He lived up to that promise with 16 goals in 45 appearances during his first season in Spain and helped deliver silverware as Sociedad beat Basque rivals Athletic Bilbao in the Copa del Rey Final.

Isak scored ten goals in 40 appearances last season and got off the mark for the current campaign on Sunday as Sociedad fell to a 4-1 defeat against Barcelona.

England legend hails ‘an exceptional talent’ after Euro 2020 display

As it stands, Isak has nine goals in 37 appearances for the Swedish national team after making his senior debut in a friendly defeat against Ivory Coast in January 2017.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic replaces Alexander Isak during the 2022 FIFA World Cup Qualifier match between Spain and Sweden  (Photo by Fran Santiago/Getty Images)Zlatan Ibrahimovic replaces Alexander Isak during the 2022 FIFA World Cup Qualifier match between Spain and Sweden  (Photo by Fran Santiago/Getty Images)
Zlatan Ibrahimovic replaces Alexander Isak during the 2022 FIFA World Cup Qualifier match between Spain and Sweden (Photo by Fran Santiago/Getty Images) | Getty Images

He scored his first senior goal in a 6-0 win over Slovakia days later - but it was his form at Euro 2020 that captured the attention of one of England’s greatest ever goalscorers.

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After impressive displays against Spain and Slovakia, England legend Gary Lineker joined the list of onlookers praising Isak’s displays.

Speaking via his Twitter account, he said: “Don’t think there’s much doubt that Alexander Isak will attract a lot of attention from clubs across Europe. Exceptional talent.”

Premier League interest grows as Isak discusses his next move

The likes of Manchester United and Arsenal were linked with a move for Isak during this year’s January transfer window and Newcastle’s interest was reported towards the back end of last season.

With speculation growing over his next move, Isak spoke out about his future and gave little away.

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He told Mundo Deportivo: “I am not talking about other clubs. I am a Real player, I work here and this is my club.

“My work is on the pitch, and as I told you before, there are other people who work outside.

“You can never be sure of anything.

“As I always say, you never know what can happen in football but in the end I’m here, happy, and nothing more.”

It now seems highly likely his future will be on Tyneside as Newcastle close on a £58million deal to bring the striker to St James Park.

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