The Portuguese international is believe to have his heart set on a permanent move back to Everton after a successful loan spell at Goodison Park, and it’s claimed Manuel Pellegrini may now turn to Tyneside in search of a new central midfielder.
Both Shelvey and Hayden have been tipped to leave this summer, with the former struggling for game-time under Rafa and the latter wanting out for family reasons.
That said, Shelvey has sounded anything but ready to leave in a recent interview, with him back at the club’s training ground before any other senior player and telling NUFC TV that he plans to fight for his place on Tyneside and force himself back into Benitez’s first-team plans.
That was great to hear, but things could yet change should Rafa sign a new deal and tell the 27-year-old he’s free to leave.
Back to West Ham’s interest in ‘£15m-rated’ duo, Shelvey and Hayden, here’s a snippet from the Evening Standard’s latest piece:
‘West Ham’s hopes of signing Barcelona midfielder Andre Gomes have been dealt a blow after they learned the player prefers a move to Everton.
‘The Hammers have made a £20million bid for Gomes but the 25-year-old is keen on a return to Goodison Park, where he spent last season on loan.
‘Everton are yet to make a bid to sign Gomes on a permanent basis but West Ham may have to turn to other targets if Gomes has his heart set on a return to Merseyside.
‘Pellegrini wants to strengthen in midfield and Newcastle duo Jonjo Shelvey and Isaac Hayden are among possible alternatives. Both players would be available for around £15m and would help their homegrown player quota.
‘Shelvey, 27, is out of favour under Rafa Benitez at St James’ Park. Former Arsenal midfielder Hayden, 24, is keen to relocate his family back down south.’
Looking at the fact Gomes is more of a ball-playing midfielder who looks to create, a move for Shelvey may make more sense, but his situation at St James’ Park is not clear.
Given Hayden’s exit seems highly likely and Diame is set to be released, will he allow another midfielder to leave before a replacement arrives? Any decisions like this are reliant on him signing a new deal, but I suspect the answer will be no.
Is Shelvey going to stay, fight for his future and reject any approach from the Hammers? If Shelvey is out of Rafa’s plans, could a new manager come in (should Benitez leave) and promise Jonjo regular first-team football?
The situation is so unclear right now, and this is what happens when you enter a summer transfer window not knowing who your owner OR manager is going to be heading into the new season.
As for Hayden, it sounds like we’ll let him leave this time, but only when a replacement is signed – and any replacement won’t be forthcoming until the futures of Mike Ashley and Rafa Benitez are sorted.
In short, West Ham may be ‘interested’, but it would not surprise me if they look elsewhere given no transfer activity will be sanctioned amongst all the uncertainty at St James’ Park.