NEWCASTLE UNITED midfielder Isaac Hayden is already thinking of a dream double over his former club after learning when he returns to the Emirates to face Arsenal.

Hayden left the Gunners in a £2.5m deal last summer and was a key part of the Magpies’ title-winning charge back to the Premier League.

The 22-year-old is desperate to prove himself in the top tier of the English game and showed enough quality last season to suggest he has the potential to be a success at that level.

Hayden would have loved to have forced his way into Arsene Wenger’s plans before heading to the North-East.

Newcastle are due to travel to Arsenal on December 16. The return fixture at St James’ Park is on April 14.

Hayden said: “That is the first fixture I was going to look for, home and away. It's a hard one because I still have a place in my heart for Arsenal because I was there for eight years and it was a massive part of my development and a massive part of me as a person.

“I can never forget that and I have got a lot to thank them for in terms of the staff and the players and everybody that was there.

“But come next season, hopefully we can do the double over them. There would be nothing better than that.”

Hayden played 33 times in Newcastle’s Championship winning season, making 28 starts.

He was well liked by supporters, and is appreciative of the reaction.

He said: “The fans have been unbelievable. This is what you come to expect now, it's almost like we are lucky. We almost take it for granted the fans we have got, and to have them singing the way they were all game against Barnsley …

“When Aston Villa scored that day (to beat Brighton and hand the title to Newcastle), obviously there was elation for the fans and just the celebrations were brilliant. Hopefully next season we can give them something to shout about even more in the Premier League.”

By the time the new season begins manager Rafael Benitez hopes to have brought in an extra midfielder to compete with Hayden in the middle.

There have been a lot of players targeted, with Lucas Leiva, James McCarthy, Tom Cairney and Fabian Delph all known to have been considered by Benitez.

The Newcastle boss has identified a new midfielder as a crucial part of this summer’s spending and the need for that would be heightened if Jack Colback was moved on.

Aston Villa, managed by his former Sunderland boss Steve Bruce, are credited with an interest in a £5.2m deal.

French defender Florian Lejeune will almost certainly be the first fresh face – after turning Christian’s Atsu’s loan deal from Chelsea into a permanent switch – to arrive at St James'.

Newcastle expect to tie things up in the coming days for Lejeune after agreeing the terms of an £8.7m deal that has been triggered because of a buy-out clause in the player’s contract.

But Newcastle’s attempts to land a new goalkeeper and Chelsea striker Tammy Abraham on loan have proven more problematic.

Newcastle, the subject of potential investment from China, did confirm yesterday that they have made moves to broaden their brand in the Far East again.

The club has launched three social media accounts in China. They will be on hugely popular Sina Weibo website), WeChat (messaging app) and Dongqiudi (footballing specific app) to try to boost communication and engagement with millions across the Far East.