Newcastle United manager Rafael Benitez has delivered bad news to Dean Smith after revealing to Chronicle Live that Isaac Hayden will “have to stay” at the club until they sign a replacement in midfield. The 23-year-old handed in a transfer request last summer as he wanted to be closer to his family, but Newcastle still haven’t granted him a departure. Villa have been linked for some time.
Benitez recently said: “Maybe in the future, it will be another thing, but at the moment, he knows he cannot go and he is quite happy because he is enjoying himself playing. Even in January when we were taking with him about the possibility if something could happen in terms of players coming, I told him, ‘If we don’t sign any midfielders so you have to stay, we will try to do the best for everyone’.”
He spent the first few months of the season on the periphery but has since returned to the first-team after the Magpies suffered an injury crisis in midfield. Hayden racked up only 128 minutes of Premier League football up until December, but he’s since featured in each of their last eight games. He’s made a total of 13 league appearances.
Given his desire to leave Newcastle, Hayden was tipped for a move during the January transfer window, but the Toon Army weren’t going to let him go without recruiting at least one midfielder. United did sign Miguel Almiron from Atlanta United on deadline day, but Hayden still couldn’t leave as Benitez was without so many players in the engine room – Mohamed Diame, Ki Sung-yueng, Jonjo Shelvey.