Isak injury 'longer-term' but Howe hopeful of return before Boxing Day

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Newcastle United head coach Eddie Howe is hopeful record-signing Alexander Isak will be fit for when the Premier League resumes after the World Cup despite his injury being "longer-term" than first thought.

Isak joined Newcastle from Real Sociedad in a deal potentially worth a reported £64.8million (€75m) in August, smashing the club's previous transfer record of just under £40m (€46.3m) for Joelinton.

Newcastle had been linked with numerous strikers throughout pre-season as they looked to build on Howe's positive start at St James' Park last season, although the newly minted club had been put off by valuations they felt were trying to take advantage of their new-found Saudi wealth.

With the season already a few weeks old, Newcastle eventually stumped up the cash for Isak, and he made a positive start with two goals in three games, but the 23-year-old suffered a thigh injury on international duty with Sweden in late September and has not played since.

Isak had already been ruled out until after the World Cup, and although Howe revealed on Friday the injury is more severe than initially thought, Newcastle expect him to be back in training in December when the club have a mini pre-season to prepare for the Premier League's Boxing Day return.

"Alex has been having a couple of injections into his thigh," Howe told reporters ahead of Saturday's visit of Aston Villa. "I believe that's gone well, and the medical team are happy where he currently stands.

"But it is a longer-term injury, a five- or six-week injury. As I've said before, he won't be back before the World Cup break.

"We're hopeful, as we begin our second pre-season, he is ready to train."

Newcastle's last pre-World Cup game is on November 12 at home to Chelsea, and they return to action just over six weeks later on December 26, away to Leicester City.

The club have already confirmed plans to visit Saudi Arabia for a training camp, as they did in January.

That trip will include a friendly against Saudi Pro League champions Al-Hilal, scheduled for December 8.