Newcastle United have 'perfect' £83m duo available again after 31-game absence

Newcastle United striker Alexander Isak celebrates with team mates Kieran Trippier (obscured) and Callum Wilson (r). (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)Newcastle United striker Alexander Isak celebrates with team mates Kieran Trippier (obscured) and Callum Wilson (r). (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)
Newcastle United striker Alexander Isak celebrates with team mates Kieran Trippier (obscured) and Callum Wilson (r). (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images) | Getty Images
The Newcastle United pair have featured in just 16 matchday squads together this season.

In Alexander Isak and Callum Wilson, Newcastle United possess two of the Premier League’s most prolific centre forwards. Individually, there aren’t many better but neither have done each other any favours this season.

For the first time since Boxing Day - the 3-1 defeat at home to Nottingham Forest - the Magpies saw Isak and Wilson in the same XI after the latter was introduced from the bench against Crystal Palace and Sheffield United. Both drew blanks at Selhurst Park, but the visit of the Blades to Tyneside was the first time the pair had scored in the same game since that 8-0 win at Bramall Lane in September.

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Only on seven occasions this term have the two players featured together but with Eddie Howe tending to field only one striker, their jobs haven’t been to play alongside each other, but to support each other. And with injuries, that has rarely been possible.

On for Isak 14: On for Isak 14:
On for Isak 14: | Getty Images

Out of Newcastle’s 47 games in all competitions, Isak and Wilson have been named in the same matchday squad just 16 times. Perhaps it’s no wonder that when Wilson returned from eight weeks out with a pectoral injury last month, it was joked (or seriously feared) that Isak would break down.

Because when one plays, the other is usually unavailable - unfortunately falling in line with the shear amount of injuries that have dominated Newcastle’s campaign. Isak has sat out of 10 matches in total because of an ongoing groin issue while Wilson’s total is much higher, 23 games he’s missed, whether be through a hamstring, calf or chest injury.

Isak, it has to be said, has gone some way to proving his durability in recent months. Since needing to be replaced at Aston Villa on January 30, the Swede has played nine times in the league - seven of which were a full 90 minutes - and bagged nine goals. And even with the amount of matches Wilson has missed, the England man still boasts an equally impressive strike rate of eight goals in eight Premier League starts.

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Their talents and goal-scoring prowess are undeniable, not many teams in the Premier League can they have two better strikers. But the trend of one being fit and the other not cannot continue. It only comes as a detriment to their own fitness and of course, the football club itself - as discovered in the past eight months.

Because of Isak’s recent scintillating form and Wilson’s latest absence, some are of the mind to let the latter go this summer and source a more dependable back-up instead. But as Howe pointed out last week, it’d cost a lot of money to replace Wilson’s quality. If the 32-year-old can prove his fitness, then United have the perfect two strikers.

It can be done, just look back to the end of last season when Newcastle went on to secure Champions League qualification. It was then Howe was able to rotate or work the pair into the same team given Isak’s ability to play anywhere across the frontline.

The 2023-24 season may be drawing to a close but there are still four games remaining to witness Isak and Wilson in full flow. Through wins, goals and European qualification, the narrative could change heading into the transfer window.

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