With Glenn Whelan and Mile Jedinak leaving Aston Villa this summer, Dean Smith may be on the look-out for a replacement – a defensive-midfielder with Premier League experience, combative qualities, composure in possession and high levels of industry would be the ideal signing.
Isaac Hayden may fit the bill perfectly for £15m. The 24-year-old is expected to leave Newcastle United before the transfer window shuts as he wants to be closer to his family in South Wales, so a move to Villa could benefit all parties. Hayden has wanted out of United since last summer but hadn’t been granted a departure until now.
The £22k-per-week midfielder made 28 appearances in all competitions last season, scoring and creating five goals. In the Premier League, Hayden has racked up 1864 minutes of football, made 22 chances, boasts a 75% dribble success rate, won 54 aerial duels (57%), blocked 34 shots/passes/crosses, made 28 clearances and averaged a tackle (73) or interception (40) every 17 minutes.
If Hayden wants to keep playing at the highest possible level, he may have to be content with a move to the West Midlands. Birmingham and South Wales are approximately 90 minutes apart on the train and less than two hours apart on a coach. It currently takes Hayden three-and-a-half hours to travel from Newcastle to South Wales.
Whether Villa are considering a move for the Englishman remains to be seen, however.
Stats from Transfermarkt.