This article forms part of our Profit Players feature series, which is where Football Transfer Tavern takes a look at how well a player has fared since being signed or sold, using statistical figures and statements from pundits to prove how good of a deal the club managed to achieve.
Newcastle United have continued to reap the rewards of their capture of Isaac Hayden ever since the midfielder moved to St. James’ Park, with the Magpies spending £2.5m to acquire him from Arsenal in 2016, as per The Sun, and awarding the former youth international a five-year contract (BBC).
The North East outfit almost parted ways with the Gunners product in the summer, though, when Hayden declared a desire to move down south to be closer to his fiancée and daughter, but a chat with his partner saw the 24-year-old have a change of heart.
Toon boss Steve Bruce has since been able to call on the Chelmsford-born ace in each available fixture this season (TransferMarkt), with Hayden now keen to see his efforts in Black and White rewarded with an England debut (Chronicle).
Hayden knows he faces a challenge to earn a senior bow under Gareth Southgate, noting the Three Lions head coach prefers “flairy” and attacking options in the area where the Newcastle man thrives the most.
His intelligence and physicality has always been known, though, as former Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger told Red London, via quotes by 90min, at the time of Hayden’s departure from North London: “He couldn’t get the chance here and I decided to let him go and have an opportunity.
“At 21 years of age, you need to play or you stand still – and if you stand still you waste your career. He’s very intelligent and very good physically, as well, [and] he has good strength. I think Newcastle is a good opportunity for him.”
Wenger’s words proved true, with Hayden featuring in 33 Championship games during his maiden season at Newcastle (TransferMarkt) and retained a key role following the Magpies’ promotion – making 26 Premier League outings.
Last season saw the best version of Hayden that he had ever displayed, too, with the 6 ft 1 defensive midfielder starting every top-flight game between Boxing Day and the end of term, to have recorded an average 3.5 successful tackles per ninety minutes (WhoScored), as well as 1.9 interceptions, 1.4 clearances and 1.7 blocks.
His efforts last season, in particular, saw Hayden earn his tag as a profit player for Newcastle, as the Toon sought to secure around £15m in the summer had he looked to force his way out of the club amid interest from West Ham United (Evening Standard), who had been rebuffed in their advances to sign Andre Gomes.
Newcastle fans, how crucial is Hayden to your club now? Let us know in the comments below…Like what the TT have on offer? Sign up for more Newcastle notifications!