Eddie Howe is hoping Alexander Isak with add “the X-factor” to his team as Newcastle close in on a club-record signing.
The 22-year-old Sweden international was on Tyneside on Friday with a view to completing a move understood to be worth around £58million from Spanish side Real Sociedad.
Should Isak sign, the deal would smash the £40m the Magpies paid for Brazilian Joelinton during the summer of 2019 and take the club’s spending in the two transfer windows since Amanda Staveley’s consortium took over to around £210m.
On the progress of the deal, Howe said: “It’s not completed. We hope to get it done.”
When asked if Isak could be signed in time to play at Wolves on Sunday, he added: “Yes, fingers crossed. There’s no guarantee with these things because we’re in other people’s hands, but hopefully.”
Isak has been a long-term target for the Magpies, whose need has grown in the past week as a result of the hamstring strain suffered by Callum Wilson in Sunday’s 3-3 Premier League draw with champions Manchester City.
Howe said: “He will add those qualities he has – he has pace, technical ability, dribbling ability, he has got a bit of X-factor about him.
“He is slightly different and I think he is capable of scoring goals.”
Wilson, meanwhile, is facing a spell on the sidelines and while Howe has insisted his injury is not serious, he admits that situation did add urgency to the pursuit of Isak.
He said: “Naturally with Callum’s injury – which we don’t believe to be serious, by the way, we’re hopeful that Callum will only be out for a couple of weeks – but naturally we acted slightly off that in terms of we were always looking for attacking players, but it changed our focus maybe slightly on the type.
“But we’re delighted to hopefully sign Alex, who will be a big player for us.”
Howe confirmed the club is in talks with Manchester United over goalkeeper Martin Dubravka, who has been displaced as number one by summer signing Nick Pope, but the Newcastle boss revealed he is in no mood to let the Slovakia international go.
He said: “There has been contact between the clubs, but that will be something that will continue probably to happen, as in the discussions.
“But in terms of an actual final outcome, I’m very reluctant to lose any important players to the group, so that’s a decision that will be out of my hands, really.”