Chris Sutton: Hayden is the man to fill the Oliver Skipp void at City

Newcastle United's Isaac Hayden reacts prior to leaving the pitch with an injury during the Premier

Isaac Hayden was Norwich City's first summer signing. - Credit: PA

The first signing after relegation is always an important one and signing Isaac Hayden is a real statement of intent from Norwich City. 

Dean Smith described his side as being 'too easy to play against' last season and that isn't a statement that can be argued against. Ever since Oliver Skipp, who was excellent in the Championship, returned to Tottenham, Norwich have had a gaping hole in defensive midfield. 

Norwich never replaced him. Mathias Normann displayed flashes of quality but they lacked a real enforcer. That is what Hayden does. 

I've seen him play centre half and right-back for Newcastle, so there is versatility from him but he's been signed to inject some steel and real physicality into a Norwich team that was meek in the Premier League.

Some people may put a question mark on his head because of his lack of game time last season or some deficiencies within his game but Norwich have just been relegated and lacked steel. He will bring those attributes in abundance. The mission is to achieve a better balance in midfield.

It is tough to attract players after relegation from the Premier League. Hayden has played a vast number of games for Newcastle and been an excellent servant to that club. Smith will have identified him as someone who can become a real driving force in the centre of the pitch in the Championship. 

For me, if you look at the biggest problem area for Norwich last season - it was the midfield.

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