City yesterday announced the signing of Isaac Hayden from Newcastle United, the first since Dean Smith took over back in November.
He initially signs on a loan deal, but City have the option to make it permanent, should they get promoted at the end of the season.
Hayden came through the Arsenal academy, captaining their Under-18s and Under-21s and making 25 appearances for England’s youth teams. Arsene Wenger praised the midfielder’s intelligence, strength and concentration during his time with the Gunners.
In 2015, he completed a loan move to Hull, where he achieved the first of two promotions to the top flight in two seasons. After achieving promotion to the Premier League via the playoffs, he made a permanent move to Newcastle, helping them bounce back in style, accumulating 94 points.
He played 161 times for the Toon, 118 in the Premier League. Their official club website describes him as having “gone on to establish himself as a solid, consistent performer among English football’s elite.”
An injury-stricken season saw Hayden left out of Eddie Howe’s 25-man squad in the second half of last season, leading to his departure now.
Dean Smith said on City’s official site:
‘He’s a really good footballer and has both excellent technical and ball-winning qualities. He plays mainly as a holding midfielder, is good aerially and we believe he can be very good for us in both boxes.
‘He brings a lot of experience of both the Premier League and Championship. We know he is a really good personality and character and that will add to our group.’
That last point is an important one. It shows a clear intent to rebuild the character in the dressing room and connect fans to the player.
Hayden said on canaries.co.uk: ‘The head coach was a big factor for me. He called me straight away and saw that I was out of the picture at Newcastle. I had spoken to him a few times before and he always struck me as somebody who was trying to do the right things and doing things very well at football clubs.
‘I am really looking forward to it. I have looked at the squad and spoken to Stuart Webber and the manager about what they want to achieve and winning the division is, obviously, the aim.’
Isaac Hayden, hopefully, the first of several new faces, can bring much-needed fire to the midfield. Let us know what you think of City’s new man in the comments.