Arsenal have a hidden problem that could block Alexander Isak transfer

Alexander Isak (right) with Joe Willock (left) arriving at Arsenal's Emirates Stadium
-Credit: (Image: Serena Taylor/Newcastle United via Getty Images)

Top of Mikel Arteta's summer transfer wishlist will be to add a centre forward to his Arsenal team.

The Gunners were not short of firepower this season and it was not the reason they lost the Premier League title. However, it is fair to say they have not had a prolific striker in their side this year which could have completed their attack.

No surprise, then, that Newcastle United striker Alexander Isak has been heavily linked with a move to the Emirates Stadium. The Swede has shown this season why he was an astute purchase by Eddie Howe from Real Sociedad.

Not only is he a strong presence at the top of the pitch, but he also has the pace to cause problems for the opposition's defence and his tally of 21 goals in 30 Premier League appearances is not to be sniffed at either. But an issue could occur if Isak decides to ask one of his teammates about playing for Arsenal.

Former Gunners midfielder Joe Willock joined the Magpies from North London in 2021 and is unlikely to regret his decision. When asked why he decided to leave the Emirates Stadium, the 24-year-old shone a light on how he felt let down by the club he had progressed through the academy ranks with.

"I remember that summer going back to Arsenal and I didn’t know what to do," he told The Telegraph. "I’d enjoyed the loan but to make it permanent was a big call. I wasn’t sure I wanted to leave Arsenal.

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"I probably thought I was going to go back and things would be the same. I’d be working to break into the first team again and everything would be familiar and comfortable.

"The fans probably made that decision [to move permanently] easier but also Steve Bruce. He really fought to bring me here, he was great for me.

"We had loads of conversations on the phone that summer. I wasn’t valued at Arsenal, that became clear.

"When I had a meeting with them, it was obvious they wanted me to go. Yeah, it hurt.

"I would probably have drifted for another year had I stayed. I’d been there since I was four-and-a-half years old.

"I’d given my life to Arsenal. At that meeting, it just felt like my time was up. I didn’t feel valued anymore and that was it, I was going to sign for Newcastle after that."

Football is full of difficult decisions but should Isak consult his teammate about Arsenal, it is unlikely that Willock will give them a glowing review. While the argument could be made that the Swede would be joining under different circumstances, it would be naive to think he would not be taking those comments on board.

This sport is ultimately a small world and while this issue is not insurmountable, it is something Arsenal may have to address to secure their man.