Newcastle ‘problem’ hints at painful sale as Ornstein reveals ‘concrete interest’ in £100m man

Jason Soutar
Newcastle United duo Alexander Isak and Bruno Guimaraes gesture during a match.
Alexander Isak and Bruno Guimaraes gesture during a match.

David Ornstein says he would be “shocked” if Newcastle United agree to sell reported Arsenal target Alexander Isak this summer.

Isak has been strongly linked with a move away from St James’ Park with the Magpies desperate to raise funds.

Newcastle: Alexander Isak sale would ‘shock’ David Ornstein

This is despite the fact their Saudi Arabian owners are worth an absolute fortune. Unfortunately for Newcastle, the Premier League’s profit and sustainability rules (PSR) have massively restricted their ability to spend as much as they would like.

The winter transfer window was very difficult for Eddie Howe, who could not delve into the transfer market with his side struggling on the pitch.

To avoid breaking financial rules, while giving them a better chance of buying new players, there has been a lot of talk surrounding the futures of star players Isak and Bruno Guimaraes.

Guimaraes is an outstanding player but you get the impression Newcastle would not be too upset if someone triggers his £100million release clause.

Isak is not known to have a release clause in his Magpies contract and would probably be harder to replace.

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During a Q&A on The Athletic on Thursday afternoon, Ornstein was asked about Newcastle’s financial situation and what it means for Guimaraes and Isak.

Ornstein did not rule out the summer sale of Isak and explained why selling Guimaraes makes more sense and is more realistic.

He notes that there is “concrete interest” in the Brazilian midfielder, while the former has “plenty of admirers” but there are no clubs “actively looking to move for him”, despite the fact there is a lot more noise about Isak than Bruno.

“I don’t think it’s a case of needing to sell before buying but more that a sale will be needed to help balance the books,” Ornstein said. “So it’s not so much about the chronology; a sale may come after a purchase. But, yes, a sale is required and Newcastle have been quite clear in admitting that.

“Whether people like this or not, the sale of a homegrown player would be the best financial solution because it would represent pure profit from a PSR perspective. Also, as much as I’m sure Newcastle love their homegrown players, stars like Isak and Bruno are currently more important.

“But herein lies the problem for them; there aren’t really any homegrown players I imagine they are willing to part with who would generate the required finances to make it worthwhile.

“Those who would do that are the likes of Isak and Bruno. Botman may well have fallen into that category had it not been for his knee injury. Of course, Newcastle wouldn’t want to lose any of them either… but something will have to give.

“For all the recent reports on Isak, I don’t personally know of clubs who are actively looking to move for him (granted he has plenty of admirers but the fee will be huge, his injury record may be a concern and he is so crucial to Newcastle I imagine they will do everything in their power to keep him). So I would be shocked if Isak was sold.

“Eddie Howe has pretty much said that in recent days and I saw some comments from Isak yesterday suggesting he plans to stay. Bruno is an interesting one, though, because I’m aware of clubs who have a concrete interest in him. His style and ability to operate as a No.6 and No.8 is what a number of top sides are seeking.

“Is he as vital and irreplaceable to Newcastle as Isak? I’m not saying a move is sure to happen but equally it wouldn’t surprise me.”

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