Mo Diame was ordinary when he first arrived at Newcastle, and by his own admission, he did not have a good first season at Newcastle in the Championship after he was signed for his release clause of £4.5M from Hull City.
Mo had a so-so start to last season too, but then towards the end of last year Rafa played him alongside Jonjo Shelvey as the holding midfielder, and he started to play really well.
That coincided with Newcastle starting to get some wins under our belt after we went nine league games with only one point over the last two months of the year.
At the end of the season, Mo had turned out to be a revelation because of his consistent performances in midfield for Newcastle.
The 31-year-old like the rest of the Newcastle players is trying to get up to speed for our first league game of the season at home to Spurs a week on Saturday and is currently in Braga with the rest of the squad.
31-year-old Mo Diame – in action former club Hull earlier this month
We play SC Braga on Wednesday night with a 7:30 pm kickoff.
This is what Diame has told the Chronicle today:
“We have a big start to the season and it will be similar to the Porto game.” “If we can try to keep the ball, in the same manner, we will be OK.”
“The result at FC Porto was not important.” “I think we played the game well and FC Porto were a good similarity to Tottenham so it was a good game for us to get ready for that first game.”
“We defended quite a lot and we will probably do that against Tottenham too.” “It’s good to see the team fighting even though it is a friendly game.”
“We know we have to play around 45 minutes of 60 minutes each game now.” “I am happy with that because I need more minutes and want to be ready for Tottenham.”
“Everyone knows that this team is the same team we had in the Championship.” “In the meantime, we are together and all the players spend time with each other.”
“After three years we know that we are all fighting for the cause.”
Mo’s three-year contract runs out next summer, and it remains to be seen if Rafa will give him an extension.
That will depend on how well he plays next season – but if it’s like earlier this year, we would expect him to still be a Newcastle player at the start of next season.
Mo has turned out to be another savvy acquisition by Rafa Benitez.