Alexander Isak claim has already given Liverpool chance to correct Darwin Nunez transfer mistake

The summer of 2022 saw several Premier League clubs add a specialist No.9 to their ranks.

In came Erling Haaland at Manchester City, Darwin Nunez at Liverpool and Alexander Isak at Newcastle United. Of the three aforementioned players, Isak was the arrival greeted with the least enthusiasm yet he is showing right now why he is the name everyone should be talking about.

The Swedish striker has scored 19 Premier League goals in only 26 appearances this season, boasting the best goals per 90 minutes ratio in the division (0.88) and an equally impressive shot accuracy percentage of 68.

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Isak's debut came against Liverpool of all clubs in August 2022, and it quickly became clear the Magpies had found themselves a player with limitless potential. The 24-year-old opened the scoring at Anfield with a cool finish past Alisson and added a second goal soon after this after wrong-footing both Andy Robertson and Joe Gomez in the process, only for VAR to intervene and rule this strike out for offside.

A fortnight before this fixture, it was Nunez announcing himself to those at the home of the Reds for the first time. The Uruguayan's maiden performance on Merseyside ended with a red card after 57 minutes for headbutting Crystal Palace defender Joachim Andersen. Quite the contrast to Isak's brilliance.

Isak's second trip to Anfield this season saw him get on the scoresheet once again, displaying the same ruthless nature as he had shown in 2022/23 to beat Alisson. Nunez, on the other hand, spurned a number of chances during the game and left the scoring down to Mohamed Salah, Curtis Jones and Cody Gakpo.

Sadly for Liverpool supporters, the wastefulness of the former Benfica striker has remained a theme during the season and played a key role in a costly trait of failing to punish opponents during matches. How may the Reds have fared with Isak instead leading the line?

Nunez has missed 26 big chances this term, second to only Haaland on 30, and has been offside a total of 30 times - more than anyone else in the division. Many have been quick to jump to the defence of the Reds' No.9 as he continues to adapt to the league, though Isak is the perfect example of fans blindly defending a player who simply hasn't delivered when it has mattered most. Newcastle's talisman has 29 Premier League goals to his name in 48 outings, a highly respectable return. Nunez's tally of 20 goals in 62 appearances tells a clear story of which club saw their big-money gamble pay off.

Newcastle spent £63m to bring the Swede to St James' Park, £1m less than the initial £64m Liverpool paid to prise Nunez from the Portuguese capital. The Reds have already triggered some of the £21m worth of add-ons attached to this deal, ensuring they are well on their way to matching the club-record £75m spent on Virgil van Dijk.

Isak could represent the perfect signing to kick-start a new era under Arne Slot, though the Reds are likely to face competition from the likes of Arsenal and Barcelona should they register interest this summer. Another issue to contend with is the Magpies' high valuation of the forward, which is believed to stand at £90m, who is under contract until 2028. The ex-Real Sociedad star is reportedly one of those set for a wage reduction due to Newcastle missing out on the Champions League, raising the possibility of his current employers negotiating a new contract featuring a release clause similar to that of Bruno Guimaraes (£100m).

Eddie Howe is certainly keen to keep hold of the player and told reporters at the weekend he believes Isak now comfortably falls into the category of being a world-class operator. “I think he is, yes, I think he is." said Howe. "For me, I think the biggest thing is would I swap him with anybody else? No, I wouldn’t. When you look at his age profile and what’s to come, you look at his attributes and his qualities, he’s some talent.”

On Isak's future, the Newcastle boss added: “I think we should just enjoy his performances, how he’s playing at the moment. He’s full of confidence, he looks physically in a really good place and I just think it’s a great thing to watch him play currently.”

Ove saving grace for Liverpool could be the Toon Army's need to comply with profit and sustainability rules, which the club's CEO Darren Eales has admitted could lead to unwanted exits to generate profit. “It’s difficult to say specifically on certain players, but I can say that if we’re going to get to where we want to get to, at times it is necessary to trade your players. Any decision we make will always be against the backdrop of the medium to long-term benefit for the club," explained Eales.

“Whether that is because of the contract length of the player in question, the offer is too good to refuse, you need to reload in certain areas, but all of this could make sense to trade that player. It is counter-intuitive and part of the inherent system of PSR that there is an incentive to trade your players if you want to re-invest.”

Making a potential move to Anfield would likely be a prospect Isak would relish, having named Liverpool's ground as the toughest away venue in the division earlier this year. "Anfield is good," he said. Pushed further on whether it represents the hardest away experience in England, Isak added: "Yeah, probably. I think the average level is very high in the Premier League."

The jury is still very much out on Nunez, but there are no questions to be asked of Isak. Liverpool would be buying the real deal.