Former Arsenal academy star Isaac Hayden has admitted he wants to leave Newcastle United so he can spend more time with his family.

Isaac Hayden
LONDON, ENGLAND – JULY 26: During his time with Arsenal, Isaac Hayden looks on during the Emirates Cup match between the Gunners and VfL Wolfsburg at the Emirates Stadium on July 26, 2015, in London, England. (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)

Speaking to The Times recently, Hayden talked about everything his family had gone through in the last couple of years, and why it’s all made him want to leave. He admitted Newcastle was “a huge club with fantastic fans” and “not a place you would willingly give up”, but he’s starting to feel like he has no choice.

The problems began during his fiancée Lauren’s pregnancy in 2017. She had hyperemesis gravidarum and was bed-ridden, “being sick 20-30 times a day”, according to Hayden. Then their child Adriana was born prematurely, having breathing problems and temperature control issues, so she had to spend time in Portland Hospital in London.

Although Adriana is doing better now, the family are still using the same hospital often for check-ups and so on. As a result, Hayden is living away from his partner and daughter.

“They come and see me quite regularly, but I want to be in a place for my daughter to settle down and have a happy home environment and not be moving around too much,” Hayden said.

“People will say, ‘You earn thousands of pounds a week, you’re an hour’s flight away from your child, what’s the problem?’ but the whole point of being a dad is to be there. When she’s older, I don’t want her to say, ‘Dad paid for everything, but I only saw him once every three weeks’.

“I want her to say, ‘I did this with Daddy, we went there together.’ Money isn’t everything. It’s about the time you spend with children, the effort you put in. I want to know her. I don’t want to miss her walking for the first time, talking, all those things. I want to be a proper dad.”

isaac hayden newcastle
Isaac Hayden with Newcastle United

As for where he’d go next, Hayden’s family are in Essex, his child’s hospital is in London and his fiancée’s family is in the South West, so basically anywhere further south than Newcastle would be an improvement!

Brighton tried to sign the former Gunner over the summer, but Newcastle’s attempts to sign a replacement fell through. Hayden says he feels like he’s in limbo at the club.

“I wouldn’t say my life has been on hold because you can always find little solutions to improve things, but limbo is the word,” he said. “You don’t know whether you’re coming or going. You’re always in that strange place.

“I don’t blame the club. They had to do what’s best for them and I completely respect that. You have to respect the fans most of all. When you’re contracted to do a job, you fulfil your duties. It’s not like I’ve downed tools. I would never do that.”

The midfielder has been back in the team regularly recently, making 11 consecutive league starts and even adding a goal and three assists despite his defensive role. Hopefully, he finishes the season well and gets the move he’s been looking for.