Mo Diame has spoken out about his struggles over the past few years, revealing just why he endured such a disappointing campaign on Tyneside last season.
When he joined Newcastle last summer I was delighted. The former Wigan, West Ham and Hull midfielder had often impressed me and I was considered him quite a coup following our relegation. He scored 10 goals from midfield in his previous Championship season with Hull and looked to be the ideal signing.
After a underwhelming first season at the club, the 29-year-old midfielder said the following in an insightful interview with ESPN:
“Deciding to come to Newcastle was easy; it’s a huge club with a great manager,”
“Collectively, I’m happy with the season. The target was to be champions and we achieved that, so of course I am happy.”
“Personally, though, I am a little bit disappointed. I didn’t play the way I wanted to.”
“I wanted to make the fans happy, but my body just wasn’t ready for two consecutive seasons in the Championship.”
“Games every two days was difficult [to cope with] and I wasn’t used to it.”
It is fair to say that Diame looked a shadow of his former self last season, with the midfielder suggesting that back to back years in the Championship combined with strenuous International duties has taken it’s tole:
“Since I picked up an injury at Hull, I struggled to get back to my top level. All the international breaks, going away, it didn’t help me get back to the top.
I was under-performing with both club and country, and I had to make a choice,”.
“I stopped internationals for a physical reason alone. Yes, I experienced a lack of professionalism and organisation when playing for Senegal and it can give you a headache, but it’s part of African football and it is hard to say exactly why it is like that.”
“I want to use this summer to make sure I am ready to give my all for Newcastle next season. My head is with this club and I want to be here and play in the Premier League.”
Hopefully this decision goes on to pay dividends for his club form, as Diame, a midfielder so often known for his energy and drive, looked so lethargic and lackadaisical for the majority of last season.
Mo then went on to share some interesting stories about moves to the Premier League’s big boys that fell through:
“The Arsenal links were true, but nothing came of it and I’m not sure why,”
“I wanted to go there, for me it was a big move, but God decided it was not the way.”
“The same happened with Liverpool when I left Wigan [in 2012]. They almost took me on a free transfer; I even went to the training ground, met Kenny Dalglish and a move was very close.”
“I thought it was done! We discussed pre-season and everything, but shortly after they sacked Dalglish and Brendan Rodgers came in.”
Finally, Diame talks Newcastle, sharing his admiration for the fans who he believes to be the best he’s ever played in front of:
“The atmosphere created by the Newcastle fans is the biggest difference to the other clubs I’ve played at.”
“They are always there, home and away, even for cup games against lower teams the stadium is full. West Ham is a massive club too, but the Newcastle fans are something different.”
Here’s hoping Diame can get himself back to full speed this summer and start delivering on the pitch next season.
He speaks so well and is a player i’d be reluctant to write off, however a marked improvement will be required if he is to keep up with the frenetic pace of the Premier League.