Newcastle United look set to lose midfielder Isaac Hayden this summer after the 23-year-old handed in a transfer request.
The Chronicle have reported that Hayden has asked to be given permission to return to the south of England for 'exceptional family reasons,' having grown up in Essex and come through the ranks of Arsenal's youth setup.
With Hayden's departure now seeming to be all but certain and with Brighton reportedly willing to spend £10m to bring the midfielder to the south coast, the Chronicle have also created a shortlist of potential signings that manager Rafael Benitez could make to fill the Hayden-shaped hole in their side.
The list includes Stoke City midfielder Badou Ndiaye, who only joined the Potters in January but seems almost certain to move on this summer following the club's relegation from the Premier League last season.
Ndiaye is joined on the list by Stoke teammate Giannelli Imbula, who became Stoke's record signing in 2016 but has failed to deliver at the Bet365 Stadium and spent last season on loan at French side Toulouse. However, it is suggested by the Chronicle that Ndiaye is the more likely of the two players to attract Newcastle's attention given his stronger recent form.
Two Chelsea players also make the list - England internationals Danny Drinkwater and Ruben Loftus-Cheek. However, neither of these players seem terribly likely to make the switch to St. James' Park given their wages and the transfer fee that would be required to sign either one of them.
Moreover, the Chronicle point out that Loftus-Cheek is a more offensive-minded player than Hayden and would not serve as a like-for-like replacement, meaning Benitez would have to consider signing another defensive midfielder.
The list also includes the likes of Lille's Thiago Maia, Lyon's Clement Grenier and Juventus' Stefano Sturaro, but with many of the players on the list likely to command a hefty transfer fee, it seems as though Ndiaye is the most realistic option to join Newcastle this summer. Stoke's relegation surely means their hand could be forced on a potential move as Ndiaye is unlikely to be content playing Championship football for the next year.