By Dominic Toner
Newcastle’s latest addition Isaac Hayden is targeting the midfield anchorman role next season despite being capable of filling in as a defender.
The 21-year-old joined from Arsenal on Monday in a reported £2.5million transfer and believes he is best suited in the midfield.
This has plunged the future of long-serving midfield enforcer Cheick Tiote into further doubt.
“I am a holding midfielder, probably the deepest of a midfield three. But I can play right-back and centre-back so I am quite versatile,” Hayden said, as quoted by Chronicle Live.
“I just want to get as many games under my belt as I cam and help the team bounce back to the Premier League.”
Last season Jack Colback, Vurnon Anita and Tiote were the principal defensive midfielder options, but the latter has already been a transfer target for Marseille this summer.
Tiote has spent the last six seasons with Newcastle since joining from FC Twente for £3.2million, and has 12 months left on his current contract.
New recruit Hayden joined the Arsenal youth academy at the age of 13 from Southend in 2008.
The defensive midfielder made two appearances for the Gunners during his eight years at the club and spent last season on loan with Hull in the Championship where he made 24 appearances in all competitions.
Hayden will provide a good understanding of the Championship for new boss Rafa Benitez, who will be competing in England’s second-tier of football for the first time.
The Magpies managed to keep hold of former Real Madrid boss Rafa Benitez and have already brought in five players this summer, which include Hayden, Dwight Gayle and Matt Ritchie all coming from Premier League sides.
Newcastle are widely expected to challenge for the automatic positions next season and will be hoping to replicate their 2009-10 season where they won the same division with 102 points.
In other Newcastle news, fans favourite has moved to MLS side Vancouver Whitecaps.