The former England striker was brought into Stoke by Rowett as a coach during his ill-fated spell in charge of the Bet365 Stadium, with the current Millwall manager having been tasked with re-shaping the squad following their relegation. However, things did not work out and the pair both left the club by January 2019.
The Potters spent heavily during their first summer back in the Championship, and one player that is has now emerged they made a move for that window was Newcastle’s Isaac Hayden. The 25-year-old had at the time been contemplating leaving the Magpies and moving back nearer to his home down south, per Football Insider.
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Speaking to Football Insider, Phillips revealed that Stoke enquired into the prospect of bringing Hayden into the club, before being rejected by Newcastle who were convinced that the midfielder had a key part to play for them which has since been proved by him signing a new deal.
He said: “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.”
Hayden would have been an excellent addition for Stoke of that there is no doubt, with the 25-year-old an impressive performer in the Premier League for the Magpies. So far this season he has already averaged 1.3 interceptions, 1.8 tackles and maintained an 82% passing accuracy per game in his six league matches (Sofascore).
That shows he is clearly a Premier League quality midfielder and that the Potters would have pulled of a real coup had then been able to sign him when they were rebuilding their Championship squad. However, it also highlights the mixed approach they had to transfers which cost them in their first campaign back in the English second tier.
Stoke have since opted to sign players within a tighter budget and Hayden’s current £22,000-a-week deal at Newcastle would likely be too high for the Potters now. While signing him would have been a boost there is no guarantee he would have flourished especially in the chaotic first few seasons back in the Championship.