Newcastle United and Preston North End transfer potential explained as interest confirmed

Isaac HaydenIsaac Hayden
Isaac Hayden | Getty Images
PNE have been linked with the Newcastle United man along with Birmingham City and Sheffield Wednesday

Incoming business is unlikely, as things stand, for Preston North End in the January transfer window. That has been made clear by manager Ryan Lowe, as well as director Peter Ridsdale. One player who has been linked - and not ruled out - though, is Isaac Hayden of Newcastle United.

The 28-year-old is back at St James' Park after a turbulent loan spell with Belgian top flight outfit Standard Liege. Hayden played 14 games there, having opted for a move overseas in the summer instead of joining a Championship club - or promoted Luton Town.

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Now, he is seeking another exit, with Magpies boss Eddie Howe having outlined his expectation that Hayden will go out on loan again. North End are well stacked in the midfield department and have very little budget to go out and spend this month - which begs the question as to why the Preston boss responded in the way he did, last week, when asked about links to Hayden.

Interest in the player was confirmed by Lowe, who is close with the player's agent. It was even suggested that Hayden would like to sign for PNE, should the opportunity arise. The former Arsenal, Hull and Norwich City man is under contract until 2026 at Newcastle, with Preston claimed to have held talks over a loan deal.

Lowe did finish by saying that 'unless anyone goes out there probably won't be anyone coming in' - having explained the importance of making sure 'you have got things lined up'. A reasonable conclusion, therefore, is that PNE are primed to swoop in for Hayden should they need to.

That would match up with Lowe explaining that the recruitment team have targets identified - and that some of those are players who went elsewhere in the summer and are now on the search for a move again. As has been well documented, midfield pair Ben Whiteman and Alan Browne are both out of contract at the end of this season.

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Ridsdale, as per his interview last week, outlined his view that PNE would keep the players they want to 'in the fullness of time'. Whiteman and Browne fall into that category, having both been offered new deals by the club. It is, though, of course feasible that the duo could leave this month - or in the summer, like Daniel Johnson did after last season.

They are two solid operators at Championship level and it would not be a surprise if interest in either surfaced. Browne's affection for Preston, as captain, is well known. He said back in September he would be happy to sign a new contract and has expressed his ambition to break the all time appearance record of Alan Kelly Snr (511), having been at Deepdale since 2013/14.

But, he is yet to sign on the dotted line, along with Whiteman. It would therefore be negligent of PNE, to not plan for departures. Hayden is a defensive midfield player, who Preston would seemingly back themselves to land should they need to act. In terms of other midfielders, Ali McCann has signed on until 2027 while Ryan Ledson has 18 months left on his deal.

One other player who is out of contract in the summer, and playing very little football, is Ben Woodburn. North End have Browne, Duane Holmes and Mads Frokjaer who want to play in advanced midfield roles, which has left the ex-Liverpool man down the pecking order. Another 'number six' would be more beneficial and moving the Welshman on could free up room to bring one in. But - to state the obvious - that would require interest.

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Hayden is there and available right now for Preston to bring in. Judging by Lowe's comments, it would be a relatively straightforward deal to do given how both parties feel about a potential transfer. The fact North End have made no move, mind, suggests that the Newcastle man is indeed the go-to replacement target, if Preston find themselves needing to do so.

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