An undefeated pre-season only added to the magical summer buzz around the city of Newcastle. The success of the club’s open day, in addition to the incredible amount of season tickets sold, provided an exciting indication of what’s in store for the Toon faithful.
With season preparations coming nicely to a close, attention has immediately switched to the side’s first challenge away to Fulham on Friday. This week, the nerves and excitement are back after Benitez made an attempt to add to his six signings before the wheels of the Championship are set in motion.
The Spaniard is expected to do just that with the addition of Hull City’s Mo Diamé. Following in the footsteps of Sels, Ritchie, Gayle, Jesus Gamez, Hayden and Hanley, the powerful midfielder will provide even more depth to the class of 2016-17’s ranks and beyond.
A transfer in the region of £4.5 million is reportedly imminent after the club matched his release clause. Such a fee seems a steal to many, but the biggest shock will come to Hull City, from whom he rejected a new contract offer.
To gather some thoughts on the 29 year-old, I got in touch with lifelong Hull City fan and blogger @HullCityLive.
1 – What would Mo Diamé add to NUFC’s side?
Diamé is a maverick. He’ll produce a goal or make a chance out of nothing. He’s dangerous shooting from distance, has a good eye for a pass and finds space in the box. He’s the sort of player who’ll hardly be in a game for 89 minutes but will win it for you.
2 – As a midfielder who likes to venture forward, what position suits Diamé best & why?
He’s played most of his games for Hull City just off a striker. That allows him to be effective in areas where he’ll hurt the opposition. For a big guy, he’s not that strong in the tackle and his stamina is questionable so he never really suited an out and out midfield role.
3 – One of his main weaknesses appears to be losing possession, is this one of the most frustrating parts of his play?
He can over play, he’ll hold on to the ball too long, try to beat the wrong man or try to make an impossible pass. He’s the sort of player who can pull it off though so you have to accept that when it doesn’t come off, he looks bad but he will get it right when you need it.
4 – He has had knee issues in the past, is this anything to worry about?
I don’t know the ins and outs of his knees, if there is anything still in there, but he got stronger and stronger as last season went on and ended up playing a lot of games. With a full pre-season, he can improve his fitness levels further.
5 – Would he be set to play a big part in Hull’s return to the Premiership? Or is he better suited to the Championship?
He’d be a big miss for City in the Premier League. When he first arrived, he looked a difference maker in games and we were a much poorer team without him. He’s proven in the Championship too but he should be playing at the highest level.
6 – Any word on his attitude? What type of professional is Mo?
He’s a great guy off the field. On it, he’s quite languid and the fact games pass him by has led fans to tag him as “lazy”. He had some poor games too against poor opposition but the whole team did. He delivered when it mattered – even though trips to Rotherham and Huddersfield and the like didn’t seem to thrill him!
Thanks again to @HullCityLive for taking the time to share his insight.