The centre of midfield is going to be a fascinating area of the pitch to watch at Newcastle United this summer, with much uncertainty surrounding the middle of the park.
One player who almost certainly will not be representing the Magpies is veteran midfielder Mohamed Diame, who has made a total of 103 appearances over his time with the club [Source: Transfermarkt].
The Northern Echo reported earlier this week that the Senegal international has arrived in Doha for a medical with Al Gharafa SC, after Newcastle confirmed that they would not be renewing his contract which expires this summer.
Now, the player is 32 years of age this Friday so there’s nothing wrong with letting him walk away. However, the club needs to ensure that they secure an adequate replacement for him as soon as possible.
The problem for Newcastle at the moment is that there is also plenty of uncertainty over the futures of Magpies midfielders Isaac Hayden and Jonjo Shelvey. If they were to follow Diame out of the St James’ Park exit door then Rafael Benitez’s side would be well and truly stuffed.
However, those two are currently contracted Newcastle players, whereas Diame is on his way out for nothing imminently. So it’s crucial that the club find a replacement for him this summer.
The former Hull City man is an extremely versatile midfielder, who can do a job as a holding midfielder, box-to-box midfielder and attacking midfielder. It’s going to be hard for Newcastle to find a replacement who ticks as many boxes as Diame.
They absolutely have to try, though, otherwise they could be exposed next season. Diame was a reliable campaigner for Benitez, and now the club need to find his successor.