Midfielder Isaac Hayden feels Newcastle United is a club going places but hinted that his own future is very much up in the air.
The Magpies ended the season on a high, with a 2-1 victory over Burnley seeing them secure 11th spot in the table. It is all a far cry from the doom and gloom that hung over St James’ Park during the first half of the campaign. The Saudi-backed takeover and arrival of Eddie Howe breathed new life into the Tynesiders.
And they comfortably avoided relegation, with 12 wins and two draws since the turn of the year. The January transfer window provided Howe with an opportunity to bring in some new faces.
And he spent wisely, targeting players who could do a job over the remainder of 2021-2022. Hayden missed out on all the success after picking up a nasty knee injury in late December.
He was unable to play again, ending the campaign with 12 starts among 14 top-flight outings. The 27-year-old has been with the north-east outfit for six seasons after moving from Arsenal in 2016.
He has made 171 appearances in all competitions. But, after the personal disappointment of ending his season early, there was mixed feelings in his message to the fans.
“Another season completed. Started poorly, ended on fire. Takeover done, future is bright for this great club,” he wrote on Twitter and Instagram.
“Personally my toughest in pro football but everything happens for a reason. Thank you for your incredible support this season and over the last six years.”
New additions could spell Hayden exit
Newcastle seem destined for the business end of the standings over the next few years. With funds to spend, Howe is expected to bring in a number of top-class stars to bolster his ranks.
Inevitably, that means players will have to depart. And, despite being popular among the fans, Hayden seems vulnerable.
He still has four years left to run on his current St James’ Park deal. But Bruno Guimaraes’ arrival seems to have knocked him further down the pecking order.
It could be that he becomes just a squad player and for someone approaching their prime, that may not be enough. The former Hull City loan star never gives less than his best.
And he was fined £19,000 for comments towards referee David Coote as Chelsea beat Newcastle 1-0 in March.
He hinted that the official had been biased towards the Blues. And ended his statement by saying: “Proud to be associated with the club is an understatement.”