Dean Smith tried and failed to bring Isaac Hayden to Villa Park on deadline day and was forced to turn his attentions elsewhere. The 23-year-old had been on Aston Villa’s radar for some time after handing in a transfer request last summer, but he wasn’t granted a move away from Newcastle by Rafael Benitez.
Ahead of the 2018/19 season, Hayden requested a move to be closer to his family in Wales, but Newcastle wouldn’t let him leave. After making just four Premier League appearances up until mid-December, his stance didn’t change on leaving and he was expected to be sold in January. An injury crisis would force him to remain, however.
Ki Sung-yueng was away on international duty with South Korea at the Asian Cup and returned from the tournament with an injury that could see him sidelined until mid-February. Jonjo Shelvey has a thigh injury and has managed only two appearances since December. Mohamed Diame has a hip injury and has missed Newcastle’s last three games.
Hayden has been forced to play and has since featured in seven of United’s last eight league outings. Newcastle would never let him go during their injury crisis unless they adequately replaced him, but the deadline day signing of Miguel Almiron only solved one of two issues.
Sean Longstaff was brought in from the reserves to play in midfield. Almiron would likely be his competition. Hayden would still be required to play until others returned from their respective injuries. Villa’s hopes of signing him were nil on deadline day.