Arsenal have the chance to sign a ‘Thierry Henry-esque’ striker at the end of the season in the shape of Newcastle star Alexander Isak. He has been in sensational form for the Magpies, and he could be the long-term No. 9 that the Gunners are so desperate to sign.
Arsenal are keen to sign a new striker in the summer, with numerous different options being explored. Brentford’s Ivan Toney is top of the shortlist at the Emirates Stadium, but Mikel Arteta’s side could be missing a trick in not enquiring about an alternative Premier League forward in Isak.
The Swedish international has shone since joining Newcastle from Real Sociedad 18 months ago for a fee in the region of £63million, and his performances have received plenty of plaudits. Arsenal will be well aware of the striker’s skillset, though the comments of Alan Shearer could capture their attention even more.
The Newcastle legend revealed that coaching staff at his former club have compared Isak to an Arsenal icon when analysing his ability, telling The Athletic: “I love Isak, not just because of who he plays for or the position he plays in, or his excellent record of 23 goals in 36 starts in all competitions, but because of how he does it.
“As a kid — he’s still only 24 — he was inevitably compared to Zlatan Ibrahimovic, another Swedish legend, but the comparison they make within Newcastle’s coaching staff is to Thierry Henry. You can see it in that blistering pace, the languid grace, that gorgeous, fluid movement.”
The comparisons to Henry could give Arsenal something to think about when weighing up their long-term striker targets, though it would take a sizable fee to lure him away from St James’ Park. But a move may not be entirely off the table given that Newcastle chief executive Darren Eales recently admitted that some of his side’s star players may need to be sold soon to fund new signings.
He said: “It’s difficult to say specifically on certain players, but I can say that if we’re going to get to where we want to get to, at times it is necessary to trade your players. Any decision we make will always be against the backdrop of the medium to long-term benefit for the club.
“Whether that is because of the contract length of the player in question, the offer is too good to refuse, you need to reload in certain areas, but all of this could make sense to trade that player. It is counter-intuitive and part of the inherent system of PSR (Profit and Sustainability Rules) that there is an incentive to trade your players if you want to re-invest.”
Eales’ comments mixed with Shearer’s high praise could be two factors taken into consideration by Arsenal as they scour the market for a new striker, and their pursuit of Toney would certainly suggest that they have the transfer funds available to splash the cash on a marquee signing.