There were weeks of irritation, several failed pursuits and even a public snubbing by Hugo Ekitike for Newcastle United to contend with during what was becoming an increasingly fraught search for reinforcements up front. Finally, though, Eddie Howe has been delivered the attacking signing he craved; and not just any, but his top striker target, Alexander Isak — and for a club-record fee.

Once Anthony Gordon and James Maddison proved beyond their reach, and Watford rebuffed their attempts to acquire Joao Pedro, the decision was made to go bold by making a serious play for the 22-year-old Isak.

It was a player Newcastle had initially thought was beyond them given Real Sociedad’s exorbitant demands. But, following the pulsating 3-3 draw with Manchester City, Newcastle’s decision-makers were present on Tyneside.

Alongside the head coach at St James’ Park were the sporting director Dan Ashworth, the head of recruitment Steve Nickson, the new CEO Darren Eales, Eddie’s nephew and head of technical scouting Andy Howe and, most significantly, Yasir Al-Rumayyan, Newcastle’s chairman and governor of Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF). Having witnessed Callum Wilson finish the game early because of yet another injury, Isak was identified as the solution to the club’s attacking shortcomings and sources indicate that greater funds were made available.

The six-year deal for Isak was concluded at a rapid pace, despite months of declared interest previously leading to minimal progress.

Last month, Newcastle suggested they were willing to pay up to £50million ($59.1m) in structured payments, but Sociedad demanded Isak’s £75.9million release clause be met. It was a bartering position but one that deterred Newcastle. When Newcastle were on a pre-season training camp in Austria, senior sources reiterated that Isak was too expensive.

Ashworth is believed to have re-engaged with Sociedad late on Monday evening, with an offer thought to be lower than one tentatively proposed last month. Jokin Aperribay, Sociedad’s president, admitted on Movistar TV that, “On Sunday, we did not expect Isak to leave,” but the player’s representatives informed the club 24 hours later of the forward’s desire to join Newcastle.

Though Newcastle’s first bid was rejected immediately, it reopened lines of communication and, to show they were serious about reaching an agreement this time, by Tuesday Ashworth was in the Basque country, accompanied by Nickson.

Only a handful of people around the club knew a delegation had flown out to hold in-person discussions for Isak, with most still assuming Watford’s Pedro was the top target.