Rafa Benitez ready to address Isaac Hayden’s transfer request at Newcastle

Isaac Hayden.
Isaac Hayden.

Rafa Benitez does NOT want to lose Newcastle United midfielder Isaac Hayden.

Hayden has asked for a transfer for “family reasons”.

The 23-year-old wants to return south in this summer’s transfer window – and Brighton and Hove Albion are interested in signing him.

Benitez, however, wants to keep Hayden at St James’s Park, though he is sensitive to his situation.

United’s manager is reluctant to sell any player to a club he sees as being a rival.

Benitez refused to sell striker Aleksandar Mitrovic to Brighton last season and instead loaned him to Fulham, who won promotion to the Premier League.

Hayden, signed two years ago from Arsenal, didn’t travel to Ireland with his team-mates for the club’s training camp and tomorrow’s friendly against Dublin side st Patrick’s Athletic.

The former England Under-21 international could rejoin his colleagues later this week when they return to the training ground.

Benitez is looking to sign “two or three” more attacking players and also strengthen his defence before the August 9 transfer deadline.

The club has signed three players – Kenedy, Ki Sung-yueng and Martin Dubravka – so far this window. Ki was signed to replaced midfielder Mikel Merino, who last week joined Real Sociedad after the La Liga club activated a release clause in his contract.

Meanwhile, Crystal Palace manager Roy Hodgson says he has “no interest” in selling United target Andros Townsend.

Hodgson said: “We’re not a selling club at the moment.”