Aston Villa are said to be leading the race to sign Newcastle United midfielder Isaac Hayden, according to The Birmingham Mail.

Villa have been eyeing a move for the 23-year-old for some time, and now have a good chance of completing a deal before the transfer deadline on Thursday.

Rafa Benitez wants to bring in a replacement for the out-of-favour midfielder before he departs, while Villa are keen to bolster their midfield options as they look to earn promotion to the Premier League.

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Hayden has featured 13 times so far this season for Newcastle, and has won promotion from the Championship on two occasions.

It has been reported that Newcastle are interested in bringing Benfica midfielder Andreas Samaris in at St James’ Park, with a completion of this transfer paving the way for Hayden’s move to Villa Park.

Villa sit 10th in the Championship and remain four points adrift of the play-off places.