According to Kevin Phillips, he and former Potters boss Gary Rowett tried to bring Isaac Hayden to Stoke City in the summer of 2018.
The former Sunderland striker was a first-team coach at the Bet365 stadium that year and reveals how they made an enquiry for the “underrated” midfielder after “hearing murmurs that he wanted to move further south”.
As he explains below, the surprise approach was met with a “straight no” from Newcastle United – which is no surprise given his importance to the club and the unlikelihood he’d ever drop down a league!
Here’s what he told Football Insider at the attempted deal that never was:
“Hayden was a player that we enquired about when I was at Stoke.
“I, we, heard murmurs that he wanted to move further south but when we enquired it was a straight no and the phone was put down.
“That tells you how highly they regard him at Newcastle.
“He is one of those very underrated players.
“He is one of those players who go under the radar a little bit but he is so important to that club.”
As we know, this would’ve been over the summer where Hayden’s future was up in the air – not because he was unhappy with Newcastle United, but instead missing his partner and young baby who remained down south following his move from Arsenal.
A few years on, it seems he is much more settled in the North East, with him signing a new improved deal to keep him at the club until 2026 back in September.
There was a point a few years back where a move further down the country did seem on the cards for persona reasons, however there was no way a Premier League player like Isaac Hayden was going to swap St James’ Park for a stint in the second tier with Stoke.