EDDIE Howe says Newcastle United must do everything in their power to keep hold of Alexander Isak this summer - and has warned the Magpies run the risk of having to "start again" if they lose their star striker.

Isak continued his stunning form with a brace against Tottenham on Saturday to move on to 17 league goals for the season - a tally only bettered by Erling Haaland and Ollie Watkins.

He's now scored in six successive games at St James' Park and hit 21 goals in all competitions this term - with his dazzling form grabbing the attention of Arsenal and Spurs, who he terrorised on Saturday - with both London clubs having been strongly linked in recent weeks.

But Howe is desperate for Newcastle to rebuff any summer interest in their frontman.

He said: "I did a long interview before the game. We are trying to build a team, we are trying to grow everything, really, upwards and to do that as quickly as possible and as efficiently as you can, you need to keep your best players, otherwise you enter a different period where you go into transition and you have to start again.

“Your top players, the elite ones, are so difficult to recruit, they're so difficult to find, so when we get them, we've got to try to keep them."


Isak has seven goals in his last seven games for Newcastle, but Howe believes the striker can get even better.

Asked how good the 24-year-old can be, he said: “It's a difficult question to answer, really, because I'd never say to him and put a level at what he could be. For me, he's so exciting to work with, he's got so many facets to his game we can explore and try to make better.

“First and foremost, he has the undeniable quality that he wants to score, he needs to score – that's a great characteristic for any striker to have.

“But he also plays for the team, he doesn't play for himself, which is rare. You can see him linking play and doing things that the team needs, not just what he needs. I thought it was a great performance from him today."

Isak has suffered his fair share of injury problems since joining United and although he's now fully fit, United continue to manage the striker carefully - especially with Callum Wilson out of action.

Howe said: “He's very good physically. He's had a difficult schedule. The international break, he went away and played two games for Sweden.

“We haven't got the luxury of taking him off and giving him a rest due to the fact that Callum's not there and the lack of options wide as well because we'd do that and we'd play Anthony further forward, so I think he's had to go and play the minutes.

“But at the moment, he looks really good. Of course we're trying to manage him in between games to make sure he's there when we need him, and so far so good."