Eddie Howe warns Arsenal and Premier League rivals off Alexander Isak and Bruno Guimaraes

Eddie Howe and Bruno Guimaraes after Newcastle's win at Burnley
Bruno Guimaraes is thought to have a £100 million release clause valid until the end of June - PA/Steve Walsh

Newcastle United have warned Arsenal and Manchester City they will not be able to sign Bruno Guimaraes or Alexander Isak with manager Eddie Howe refuting the idea they have to sell one of their star players this summer.

Howe was more belligerent than he had been previously when asked about the speculation surrounding Bruno and Isak, sounding far more confident that both would still be playing in black and white stripes next season.

Arsenal have been heavily linked with a move for both players, with manager Mikel Arteta on the look out for a new central midfield player as well as a striker.

Manchester City and Paris St-Germain have also been widely reported to have a strong interest in Brazil international Bruno, although the fact his release clause, which is activated by bids of £100 million, is only active until the end of June makes it very hard for clubs to come up with that sort of money before it expires because of Profit and Sustainability rules.

It is Isak, who has scored 20 goals this season in the league and 23 in all competitions, who seems to be the most coveted, but with four years left on his contract and having already publicly - as well as privately - declared his intention to stay at Newcastle, Howe tackled the speculation about his future head on.

“I don’t think of anything to do with those things [talk of him leaving],” said Howe, whose side will move a step closer to securing European football again next season if they can beat Brighton at home this weekend. “And judging by Alex’s performances and training and just how he is day to day, I don’t see him thinking about those things or dealing with those rumours.

“It’s business as usual. When you’re in the position that he’s in and he’s scoring goals, you get used to people talking about you and possibly creating rumours that are true, aren’t true, I’ve got no idea.

“For us, we’re just focusing on our future with Alex, we’re focusing on trying to build our team with him in it. He’s going to be an integral part of our future.

“We signed him knowing that he was young and we wanted to develop his talents and give him an opportunity to showcase what he could do and for me, that was a long-term thing that we started with him, a long-term journey, hopefully, and I’ve just seen him flourish this year.

“I think he’s enjoyed the environment, he’s enjoyed the team that he’s played in and I hope he does that for many years to come.”

There has been an assumption, ever since chief executive Darren Eales said in January that Newcastle needed to sell to buy to remain PSR compliant, that Newcastle would be forced to cash in on one of the big name stars.

But Telegraph Sport understands that there are other players who will be sold when the summer window opens and the club’s transfer budget remains a fluid concept until it is known how much can be raised by outgoings.

Howe made his feelings clear on the subject, insisting Newcastle were not going to be so easily weakened by rivals who thought they could pick off their elite talent.

“I do believe they (Bruno and Isak) will be here next season,” he added. “I’m planning for them to be here. Yeah, all my planning is with them in the squad.

“I don’t know why that [clubs thinking they can buy them] is so relevant or in the news as much as it is.

“I think for us we’re looking to build a squad and a really successful team and to do that, we don’t want to sell our best players. That is hugely important for us, it will knock us back some considerable distance because we would have to start again.

“There is no weakness in the club to say we are going to sell anyone. But, of course, financial fair play is there and we’ll have to comply like everyone else. That’s why I’ve said this summer is going to be a very difficult thing to predict. But there is no desire from anyone at the football club to sell our best players.”

Newcastle must show their ambition by resisting offers for best players

It is going to be a long summer for Newcastle United supporters as no matter how many times they tell people Guimaraes and Isak will not be leaving, it will not stop speculation linking them with other clubs.

Newcastle, though, have grown more defiant in recent weeks and there is a growing confidence - based on conversations with those players in private - that they will not allow rivals to cherry pick their best players.

It is an important moment for Newcastle’s board and their Saudi Arabian owners.

English football has always been a story of the haves and the have nots. The richest clubs in the land have been in a position to offer more money in terms of fees and wages and have a huge advantage when it comes to attracting the elite tier of talent.

Newcastle are trying to break into that group, but in order to sustain their challenge on the pitch, they have to keep their key players, at least for another season.

If they lose Isak or Bruno this summer, regardless of how lucrative those deals will be and how comforting it would look on a balance sheet dominated by PSR constraints, it will, as Howe said on Friday “set them back considerably” and it could take two or three years to “rebuild.”

You only have to look at what eventually happened to Leicester City after they won the Premier League and the FA Cup when they sold a key player every summer. Brighton have gone backwards this season after losing Moises Caicedo and Alexis Mac Allister last summer and the same is true for West Ham, who lost Declan Rice to Arsenal.

It is also about making a statement. Newcastle’s owners need to prove the club has changed and that the ambitious talk of becoming a team capable of winning silverware every season was not just bold words to curry favour with supporters. Talk, as they say, is cheap. Building a successful team is not.

Alexander Isak and Bruno Guimaraes celebrate for Newcastle against Tottenham
Alexander Isak and Bruno Guimaraes have been linked with Arsenal and Manchester City - Getty Images/Stu Forster

Newcastle have traditionally struggled to keep their big names, stretching right back to the Eighties and early Nineties when the likes of Paul Gascogine, Peter Beardsley and Chris Waddle were sold.

In more recent times, former owner Mike Ashley actively sold new signings a vision that would see them flourish on Tyneside for a few years in order to earn a big money move to a team capable of winning the trophies Newcastle, under his unambitious, parsimonious regime, could not.

Players like Andy Carroll, Yohan Cabaye, Demba Ba, Moussa Sissoko and Gini Wijnaldum were all sold for a big profit before the club was bought by Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund back in 2021.

On Isak, the message has been even stronger. The club have laughed at suggestions they could sell the Sweden international, who they signed for a club record £63 million in August 2022, for around £90 million this summer. Bids well in excess of that will also be rejected.

The great unknown is how will those players react and behave if bids are made for them and rejected. But at the moment, both insist they are very happy and settled where they are.

That is not going to stop the speculation and rumours though. Newcastle still need to prove they are strong and ambitious enough to resist the temptation to sell - even when the profit margins are so high they would wipe the PSR slate clean and give them far more freedom in terms of their own recruitment plans.

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