When Newcastle United signed Mo Diame last summer, I like many other fans had high hopes for the midfielder.
It is fair to say, however, that Mo has failed to hit the heights so far during his time on Tyneside, with United fans hoping for much more from the 29 year-old – who bagged 10 goals from midfield for Hull last season.
We have been speaking to a Rayo Vallecano fan Sarthak Kumar (of http://www.prideofvallekas.com/), the club where Diame made a name for himself. He paints a very different picture of Diame when compared to fans current views on the midfielder, but the story is a fascinating read none the less.
Without further adieu, here’s the story of Mo Diame – how the little known midfielder became hot property after his rise to stardom in Spain:
My heart belongs to a working-class neighborhood in Spain. So when Chelsea took N’Golo Kanté, the cog that kept Leicester City together, there was a sense of déjà vu for me. It was a reminder of what had happened to my club.
The parallels were all too real. They had Danny Drinkwater – we had 33-year-old club legend and pass master Míchel. They had Christian Fuchs and we had 39-year-old left-back Carles Llorens. They had Kasper Schmeichel and we had David Cobeño. They had Mark Albrighton and we had Jofre. They had Riyad Mahrez and we had Miguel Albiol. They had N’Golo Kanté, and we had Mohamed Diamé. And while each of those players have stories that are worth sharing, the last one sticks
out the most.
In Rayo’s 4-4-2, a 21-year-old French midfielder, who had faced health problems at 19 and was told playing again was risky, was signed from third-tier Linares – where he was a substitute, and who was told by Linares coach Pedro Pablo Braojos that he didn’t have what it took to succeed in the division, became the hottest prospect in world football.
He was a dynamic midfielder with a commanding presence in the air. He could pass and tackle and could cover every blade of grass on the pitch week-in and week-out. His long-range passing helped too, and he could join the attack if need be. He was, in essence, a tank.
Betis, Liverpool, Celtic, Arsenal, Real Madrid and Barcelona were all interested, and Zaragoza were close to a deal, but cash-strapped Rayo ended up selling him and center-back Antonio Amaya for a combined 3.8 million euros to Wigan Athletic.
There are priceless players, and then there was Mohamed Diamé. The season after, Pepe Mel was sacked midway as Rayo forgot to do with Diamé what Leicester forgot to do with Kanté – adequately replace him – and Rayo finished a dismal 11th.
Six years later, deep in north of England, Mohamed Diamé has helped a historic club get back to the top tier.
Diame may not be the player he once was and has admitted to this season being the worst he’s played all his career, but let’s hope he can re-find some sort of form on Tyneside and reignite what once was such a promising career.
What are your thoughts on Diame? Aside from his Rayo Vallecano days, he has looked very a capable player at Premier League level with Wigan, West Ham and Hull. Where has it gone from for Mo? Can he turn it around?