This article is part of Football FanCast’s The Chalkboard series, which provides a tactical insight into teams, players, managers, potential signings and more…
This summer there could be a heated race to sign Isaac Hayden from Newcastle.
According to The Northern Echo, West Ham and Brighton are both interested in the 24-year-old but Wolves and Watford have also ‘previously considered a switch’, which may cost any potential suitor around £15m.
With around a month of the transfer window yet to go and Wolves still awaiting their first new signing of the summer, it would seem the potential is still there for the Midlands outfit to come good on their prior interest.
However, if Wolves emerge as the team to sign Hayden this summer, Nuno Santo could face a major selection headache.
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Wolves already have a number of players who are capable of playing in deeper midfield positions. Ruben Neves is the general of Nuno’s midfield three, completing 2.1 tackles per game whilst also scoring four goals, proving effective at both ends of the pitch.
However, the biggest dilemma could lie right in front of the back four.
Two options available to the Portuguese boss already are Leander Dendoncker and Romain Saiss, players who also featured at centre-back last term.
Yet, if Hayden signs there could be a headache for Nuno in regards to who he should play. Both are defensive-minded players whilst they’re also calm in possession, ending the season with the exact same pass completion rate of 79.4%.
If Wolves are looking for a more dynamic player, though, Hayden could be their man. He made more tackles, 2.9 per game, than the Belgian but only just, as he completed 2.8 per outing. Yet, his eye for a pass was significantly better.
The Newcastle man picked up four assists during the course of the season while Dendoncker didn’t supply his teammates once. Hayden too averaged twice as many key passes per match – 0.9 compared to 0.4.
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There is no doubting the Belgium international’s quality but there is a case to be made that Hayden should be preferred if Wolves make a move, particularly if they want a more well-rounded individual.
Nuno hasn’t had many selection headaches in his time at Wolves, relying upon just 21 players in the Premier League last season. However, moving for the former Arsenal man could just give him one.