According to The Birmingham Mail, Aston Villa could be very busy on deadline day as they look to tie up moves for three players in a bid to push for promotion, one of which is Newcastle’s Isaac Hayden – if the midfielder’s performance against Manchester City on Tuesday is anything to go by, he would be some signing and perhaps the Championship’s best this month.
The Magpies needed to bounce back after succumbing to a 2-0 defeat at home to Watford in the FA Cup the week before but, given City’s outrageous scoring record this month, it looked unlikely they would get anything out of it.
However, a resolute performance from back to front saw Rafa Benitez’s men emerge the shock 2-1 victors and thus climb to 14th in the standings – with new arrivals potentially imminent, the St James’ Park outfit look in good shape for the rest of the season, despite a tetchy couple of months.
Villa, meanwhile, are four points away from a top-six spot and need reinforcements in both midfield and defence if they are to give themselves their best chance of reaching a second consecutive play-off final – if they can get Hayden on the books before the window slams shut, their hopes will be massively boosted.
Giving freedom to the likes of Jack Grealish, John McGinn and Conor Hourihane to cause havoc must be a priority for Dean Smith at Villa Park and Hayden would offer ample cover for a defence that has struggled to keep the ball out of the net.
Few can attest to shutting down a midfield containing Kevin de Bruyne and David Silva but 23-year-old Hayden can – Cityzens boss Pep Guardiola paid the former Arsenal man and his partner in crime, Sean Longstaff, a huge compliment post-match, saying his title-winning side could not deal with Newcastle’s holding midfielders.
Smith could do with a player of that calibre in his Villa side – Glenn Whelan and Mile Jedinak are the former Brentford boss’ two best options at the base of midfield and both are well into their twilight years – and, if they can get him, the deal would surely be the best from the Championship this January.