Wed 15 May 2024, 14:30 · Ash Harrison

Eddie Howe potentially faces a huge decision this summer with £20m man tipped to leave - opinion

Eddie Howe potentially faces a huge decision this summer with £20m man tipped to leave - opinion
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Speculation is rife right now that Newcastle United could look to offload Callum Wilson this summer.

Craig Hope has said that he's hearing from his sources that Newcastle will look to sell Callum Wilson this summer while the £20million signing from Bournemouth can still generate some income for the club.

At 32 years old and with an injury record as poor as Wilson's it would be a good move from the club, albeit one that leaves Eddie Howe with the difficult task of recruiting two strikers to fill the gap left by Wilson and the one we already had.

Which leaves us with a big question that will also present itself to Eddie Howe should Wilson move on - What do we do with the Number 9 shirt?

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More than just a number

The Newcastle United Number 9 is iconic

At most clubs the number nine shirt is a prize to be coveted by strikers, but the Newcastle United number nine seems to carry with it a lot of weight. Having been worn by the likes of Jackie Milburn, Andy Cole, Les Ferdinand, Alan Shearer and now Callum Wilson, donning that iconic shirt means you accept the responsibility to deliver goals, and that promise has not always been fulfilled.

The obvious answer might be to give it to Alexander Isak to show how we view him as our striker for the future, but is Isak really a number nine type striker? He currently sports the number 14 shirt which was also worn, albeit at a completely different club, by Thierry Henry, the player he most often gets compared to, so maybe he's happy with that number.

For us, we think we could use the vacant number nine as an incentive for a new striker to join the club. Obviously, it would have to be a striker worthy of the shirt, we're not saying hand it to the first forward who agrees to join, but give it to the one that we're bringing in to rival Isak rather than support him.


Benjamin Sesko for the number nine?

Newcastle need another striker around Isak's level (although if we're being realistic, a couple of steps down) as well as a striker who will be happy with their spot on the bench.

Benjamin Sesko would actually fit the bill for the number nine shirt if we were able to pull off a move for the Slovenian. He's only 20 so he's young enough that he has plenty of room to grow and improve, but he's already proved his quality at a top level. Telling him he could be our Number 9 for years to come and explaining the history behind the shirt could be enough to lure him to St James' Park.

It remains to be seen what strikers we bring in as to who we think is worthy, but we aren't convinced it will automatically go to Isak - not that we'd have any complaints should that happen.