Newcastle United are in discussions with Southampton over a potential swap deal involving midfielders Isaac Hayden and Mario Lemina.
According to the Daily Mail, the Magpies are set to demand around £12 million for Hayden while the Saints value Lemina at £4m, due to the Gabon international only having one year remaining on his contract.
The report also claims that French outfit Nice are interested in acquiring Lemina’s signature, meaning Bruce may have to move quickly in order to secure his man.
News of Hayden’s potential departure from St. James’ Park may come as a shock to the club’s supporters, given he signed a new six-year contract just 12 months ago.
Despite initially struggling to settle in the North East of England, the 26-year-old has endeared himself to the Newcastle faithful over the last couple of campaigns, and the fans will surely be gutted to hear this latest revelation.
His importance to Steve Bruce’s side was clear for all to see throughout 2020/21 as the Arsenal academy graduate provided a solid base in midfield from which to build on.
As per WhoScored, Hayden recorded 2.2 tackles per league game last term and made 1.8 interceptions, outperforming his teammates on both metrics, highlighting his importance to this Newcastle side.
While Lemina is undoubtedly a talented player, swapping him for Hayden appears to be a significant mistake by Bruce.
Therefore, it’s a transfer that makes little sense for the St. James’ Park outfit.
On Sunday, Hayden posted on Instagram: “5 Years today defending the @nufc badge. What a journey it’s been, wouldn’t have changed it for the world. Looking forward to the season ahead. #NUFC” indicating he’s happy on Tyneside, and not the driving force behind this potential deal.
After a strong end to 2020/21, Newcastle fans would have been hoping to see their side strengthened over the summer, building on the momentum Bruce’s charges created. However, selling Hayden would risk losing that feeling, and Bruce needs to think carefully before proceeding with this deal.