Home BETTING TIPS Selling Guimarães or Isak would be a step back for Newcastle

Selling Guimarães or Isak would be a step back for Newcastle



Bruno Guimarães donned a Newcastle United bucket hat and roared towards the away end at the Gtech Community Stadium. He’d just scored the fourth goal in the Magpies’ win at Brentford, confirming the three points that all but secured European qualification, unless Manchester United beat neighbours Manchester City in the FA Cup final next weekend.

There was unbridled joy and relief all round, but for those in the corner of the ground, a tinge of fear. What if that was to be the final competitive contribution Guimarães would make to Newcastle? The Brazil midfielder, who joined from Lyon as one of the first signings under the Saudi Arabian-backed ownership in January 2022, has become the undisputed king of Eddie Howe’s team. In every game he’s scored, they’ve won. Whenever he’s not played, they’ve failed to win. There’s nothing more needed to illustrate his importance; he’s the heartbeat and the driving force. Add into the mix his relationship with the fan base and immersion into life on Tyneside, stronger than most foreign imports, and it isn’t hard to understand just how crucial it is to keep him this summer.

But that may be out of Newcastle’s hands. The new contract he signed earlier this season includes a £100m release clause, active until the cut off for the club’s accounts for the season on June 30. That fact shows that the club understand their reality; Guimarães, one of the best midfielders in the world, will be a wanted man. Manchester City, PSG, Arsenal and Real Madrid have all been linked with him intensely over recent months. It’ll be a test to keep him; but Newcastle are protected. If he does leave, he’ll do so for a fee that will allow the club to spend big.

They should look to keep him, though. And Alexander Isak, who scored his 25th goal of the season at Brentford, for that matter. Doing so is more important than any signing; those two players, alongside Anthony Gordon who is expected to feature for England at Euro 2024, have helped Newcastle remain competitive. Isak, linked with Arsenal himself, is undoubtedly one of the most complete forwards in the game. With so few of his ilk and quality around, he is impossible to replace, even more so than Guimarães. At least Newcastle are well stocked in midfield, with Sandro Tonali’s ban coming to an end in August.

Eddie Howe has spoken about how crucial it is to keep both players at St James’ Park.

“They are suited to how we play. They are two outstanding players. They can, and have, made a difference in numerous games for us but it is always about the team for me, how it functions and how they give a platform for those two to play.

“Their involvement in the goals at Brentford was top class. But you can’t forget their team-mates. A team effort sticking together through good and bad times.”

Because of their form, Newcastle have managed to continue their progression despite a huge amount of injuries this season. Champions League qualification was always going to be difficult again, but they showed how good a team they are. Guimarães and Isak were a huge reason for that.

Howe wants to push on again next term, but that would be a huge test without either of both of his best players, regardless of who came in.

“The Champion League was a test of our resources. We had some challenging moments (with injuries) when we had to dig deep but the players never let me down. It is a season of progression. The league table may say differently but we have grown stronger as a team.

“Next year I hope we display that in our league position. It has been a good season for us but that has to continue, and we have to get stronger. The feeling in the group is so strong in the dressing room and with the staff. That is not always the case. So yeah, we have a lot of good going for us.”

They do, but only if they build on what they have already. Few players in the world can do what Guimarães does, controlling a game, owning a game as well and as consistently as he does. Even fewer are as effervescent as Isak in attack. This is a crossroads moment for Newcastle; signings are only worth their value if they strengthen foundations. To maintain them means keeping their two star men; selling one, regardless of what it leads to, would be a failure if they want to be considered an elite side.