If Newcastle United are to make their status as a Premier League side more comfortable in the foreseeable future then there are several areas of their squad which require improvement and investment. The central midfield contingent at the club is probably at the top of that list.
At this time, the Magpies’ first team squad features four natural central midfielders: Jonjo Shelvey, Mohamed Diame, Ki Sung-yeung and Isaac Hayden.
In Shelvey they have a canny creator, whilst Diame has improved dramatically in his time under Rafa Benitez. However, the squad still lacks the depth and quality required in order to thrive at the top level.
Given that Ki only arrived in the summer he must be given time to prove his worth, but the same cannot be said for Hayden, whom Toon fans on Twitter were keen to see go when he handed in a transfer request during the summer.
The time has come for Newcastle to realise that the former Arsenal man is not a player cut out for the English top flight. The 23-year-old was a fairly regular fixture in the side last season and struggled to really impress at any stage. His only major contribution to the new campaign so far has been getting sent off against Cardiff City.
If Newcastle are to improve and build upon last season’s hard-fought 10th placed finish then club owner Mike Ashley must recognise that weak areas of the squad have to be replaced with greater quality in the transfer market.
Hayden should be moved on as soon as possible – a return to Championship level would likely be the best thing for his career too – and an upgrade must be identified.