Expensive Newcastle signing could lose out to £20m man as pundit expects fierce battle for spot

Ciaran McCarthy
Alexander Isak, Callum Wilson, Newcastle United, January 2023
Alexander Isak, Callum Wilson celebrate

Gabby Agbonlahor expects Callum Wilson and Alexander Isak to battle for the starting striker spot at Newcastle this season, as he feels the pair are “genuinely 50-50”.

Newcastle have brought in some very useful players over the last few transfer windows. They made Isak their record signing last summer when they paid £63million for him from Real Sociedad.

Were it not for injury, he might well have had an extremely good first season. Indeed, he played just 22 Premier League games, and bagged 10 goals in that time, so it could conceivably been a lot higher with a full campaign.

His tally was beaten by Wilson, who bagged 18 times, bettered by only four other players across the whole of the league. Given the performances of both, former Premier League striker Agbonlahor feels it’ll be hard to choose one over the other this season.

“I think it’s genuinely 50-50 between the two of them,” he told Football Insider.

“Ask the Newcastle fans, and they’d say exactly the same.

“When Isak plays, he’s outstanding – but Wilson’s form was brilliant at the end of last season.

“Newcastle are blessed to have two top strikers, but you can’t choose between them.”

Indeed, the Magpies have two very accomplished forwards in their ranks. While Agbonlahor feels both could be crowbarred into the same side, he believes Eddie Howe will have ample opportunities to play both, and might sometimes need to use chance to decide which to go for.

“Isak could play on the left, but with so many competitions and Wilson’s fitness still being an issue, there are going to be plenty of chances to rotate,” Agbonlahor added.

“If I’m Eddie Howe, I’m picking a name out of a hat. That’s how even it is in that position.”

With all of the domestic competitions, as well as the Champions League, Howe will likely need to rotate his stars in order to keep them fresh. That could mean one starting one week while the other starts the next.

While he’ll want his better options to be playing big games, the Newcastle boss has the luxury of two very good options which he can choose between.

He’ll hope that both continue to perform when called upon, so that the level of the side is not skewed when one man is picked over the other. Judging on the form of each from last season, there might not be a whole lot separating them.

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