Steve Bruce can give Newcastle United a dream summer by reaching an agreement with Isaac Hayden to extend the midfielder’s Tyneside tenure.
According to the Daily Mail, Bruce is keen to reward several first-team Magpies stars with new contracts at St James’ Park for their efforts last season, with Hayden, Jonjo Shelvey, Martin Dubravka, Matt Ritchie and Sean Longstaff at the top of his list.
Shelvey, Hayden and Ritchie all have two years left to run on their current deals, while Dubravka and Longstaff are tied to Newcastle until the summer of 2022, but Bruce sees the quintet as the core to his Toon squad and wants to ensure their futures do not come into question.
The former Sheffield Wednesday head coach intends to sit down with the group once the transfer window closes to see if they would be open to signing improved terms, with Manchester United still believed to be interested in poaching Longstaff following his first-team breakthrough under Rafa Benitez.
Paris Saint-Germain had been linked with a surprise swoop for Dubravka recently, but Bruce poured cold on the Slovakian leaving following our pre-season friendly with Hibernian.
“He is our number one goalkeeper, and will remain so,” the boss stated. “The stuff that’s circulating about him is not true.
As for Hayden, the former Arsenal youth player had been hoping to secure a move back down south this summer after spending the past year travelling back and forth to visit his partner and child, but no transfer has yet come to fruition.
If the 6 ft 1 midfielder is open to potentially staying at Newcastle going forward as speculated, it would be a huge boost to our efforts, given his performances for the latter half of the recent campaign showed how integral he was to the side.
He endured a troubled start to the campaign after being denied a summer move following the traumatic premature birth of his daughter, but eventually found his feet once he became a regular fixture in the starting eleven from Boxing Day.
The £7.2million-rated anchor would end the term with 25 Premier League appearances to his name, in which he averaged more successful tackles per ninety minutes than any of our other midfielders to play in a defensive or central role more than once under Benitez.
His 3.6 per 90 from 4.6 efforts eclipsed Mo Diame’s 3.1 from 4.6, Longstaff’s 2.3 from 4.3, and vastly shadowed Shelvey’s 2.1 from 3.1 attempts, with Ki Sung-Yeung ranking sixth for total tackles per 90 with 1.0 from 1.6 attempts.
Hayden also came out on top in terms of interceptions with 2.0 to second-placed Ki with 1.3, and in terms of aerial duels won with 2.5 from 4.4 attempts, compared to Diame’s 1.5 from 3.4, Longstaff’s 1.2 from 2.8 and Shelvey’s 1.2 from 2.2.
Losing Hayden would leave as big a hole in the team to fill as we had to with Salomon Rondon not returning from his Player of the Year worthy loan spell, and we are yet to replace Ayoze Perez.
Talks are said to be continuing with OGC Nice for Allan Saint-Maximin, but progress has been slow.