Isaac Hayden hopes to leave Newcastle United this summer – at the third time of asking.
Hayden is looking to leave the club this summer for family reasons.
And the midfielder’s appearance in Saturday’s 3-2 defeat to Liverpool could well prove to be his last at St James’s Park.
Hayden wants to be closer to his fiancee and infant daughter. The 24-year-old, signed from Arsenal three years ago, first asked to leave 12 months ago as his daughter, born prematurely, was cared for at a London hospital.
Rafa Benitez, however, told Hayden that he would have to stay in successive transfer windows.
“I think I’ll be going,” said Hayden. “I’ve spoken to the club, and they’ve been open and honest with me.
“I’m pretty sure this will be my last game at home. In football, you never know, so I can’t say for definite, although it’s looking like my last game here.
“Nothing has changed. It’s not what is best for me or my family to be playing here next season and to be doing the travelling I have done this season. It’s unfortunate, but the club know my stance – and have known it for a year now. There are no excuses going into the summer. It’s about getting the deal right for the club and for myself.”
Hayden has made 94 appearances – and scored four goals – for United.
Asked if it would be hard to leave St James’s Park, Hayden added: “It’s a fantastic club.
“You wouldn’t want to actively try to leave a club when you have 52,000 every home game. But I have a daughter and a fiancee, soon to be wife, who I have to put first.
“To me, they’re more important than football will ever be. Hopefully, something can be done, and the club have been quite proactive with that, so I don’t think there will be a problem.”
Hayden has impressed since the turn of the year, and the Chelmsford-born player, a target for Brighton and Hove Albion last summer, is expected to attract interest from a number of clubs.
Asked how much he felt he was worth, Hayden said: “I’ve got no idea – that’s for the club to decide. You could arguably say I’m worth more now than what they would have asked for in January or last summer, because I’ve played a lot more games. But that’s for them to decide.”
Hayden doesn’t want to take a step backwards with his next move.
“I don’t want to go backwards,” said Hayden. “I want to move forwards and improve. I’ve always had confidence in my ability, and now I’ve had the opportunity to show it. It’s about finding the right opportunity – one that will allow the club to maximise the profit and be right for myself.”
Hayden, however, does hope that Benitez, out of contract in the summer, stays at United.
“It’s very important (that Benitez stays), but it doesn’t matter what players say, no-one can influence that but the hierarchy of the club,” said Hayden. “It’s up to them to come up with a package that the manager is happy with. He’s proved with the tools he’s been given so far he can be successful.”