Eddie Howe has already found Newcastle United's next No.9 as club-record deal pays off

Alexander Isak has a better goals-per-game ratio (0.6) than Alan Shearer (0.49) for Newcastle UnitedAlexander Isak has a better goals-per-game ratio (0.6) than Alan Shearer (0.49) for Newcastle United
Alexander Isak has a better goals-per-game ratio (0.6) than Alan Shearer (0.49) for Newcastle United | Getty Images
Alexander Isak should grasp the iconic No.9 jersey at Newcastle United with both hands once the opportunity arises

For young supporters or kit collectors planning to don Alexander Isak’s name on their Adidas-designed shirts this summer, maybe keep your powder dry on release day. Fan frenzy is expected on June 7 when Newcastle United reveal their latest attire for the 2024-25 campaign.

Many believe the German giant have missed a marketing trick, with a “9th of June” unveiling more apt to Geordie tradition. They could have used that one free of charge.

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Isak, with 12 goals in his last 13 Premier League appearances, is the flavour of the month of Tyneside. The youth of today are no doubt replicating his latest brace against Sheffield United, just as those from a bygone era lived vicariously through Jackie Milburn, Wyn Davies, Malcolm Macdonald, Andy Cole, Les Ferdinand, Alan Shearer or even Callum Wilson, the man left pondering on the sidelines while the Swede bamboozles Premier league defences.

But what do those famous names have in common? The No.9 shirt, an honour yet to be bestowed on Isak. As it stands, he reps No.14 - further evoking the likeness of Arsenal great Thierry Henry.

Isak leads the line for Newcastle as a modern-day incarnation of the position. The aforementioned names were ruthless goalscorers, but none, perhaps Milburn aside, possessed the guile and finesse of the Magpies’ £63million man.

But that does not take away from his goalscoring prowess and, with it, his rightful claim to fulfilling his St James’ Park legacy. A lineage stretching back to the great Hughie Gallacher in the 1920s, the No.9 jersey on Tyneside is like no other, a true staple of English football.

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Shipbuilding and coal mines were once synonymous with the North East. Goalscorers, eulogised as gods among men, remain associated - nowhere does them better.

Only Cole (0.78 per game) bagged league goals at a higher rate than Isak (0.6 per game) out of those featured above. Even the iconic Shearer (0.48 per game) ranks below him, with Blackburn Rovers arguably enjoying his peak years.

Wilson, the incumbent, is an obstacle. A goal-hungry predator in his own right, the 32-year-old is akin to the traditional No.9 role.

He has done the shirt justice. Scoring the goals to keep Newcastle afloat during Mike Ashley's latter years and the 18 strikes last season were pivotal to the club's current state. Before Isak, many viewed Wilson as the best in black and white since Shearer. 

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But recurring injury concerns have plagued Newcastle in recent years and, with one year left on his deal, now could be the time to sell up. And if they do, Eddie Howe has the perfect successor in waiting to carry on the mantle. 

Isak, with all the attributes a 21st-century striker could dream of, must make the change this summer. Embracing the shirt will place him, in the eyes of supporters, alongside Tyneside's greatest goal machines.

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