Saturday’s final home game of the season sees Liverpool come to town in a game that could make or break their hopes of Premier League glory – but it’s also a night that means a lot for Mo Diame.
The midfielder is out of contract this summer, but it’s been confirmed that the former Senegalese international is TWO starts away from activating a clause that guarantees him a one-year extension.
With Saturday’s game against Liverpool and next Sunday’s trip to Fulham being our final two games of the season, the situation seems pretty clear – Benitez may have to start Diame in BOTH games if he’s to remain at the St James’ Park this summer.
It’s been reported by the Chronicle that Mo has requested a two-year deal, but it seems the club are reluctant to accept these terms given he turns 32 next month, meaning two starts in our last two games may be his only route to a contract extension.
Diame’s issue is not only Isaac Hayden’s rise to form – with him seeming virtually undroppable based on his 2019 form – but the fact both Ki and Shelvey have been getting starts ahead of him in recent weeks, suggesting Rafa is in no rush to activate this ‘one-year extension’.
Personally, I’d be very keen to keep him around for at least another season. He’s not easy on the eye and his days of being a regular name in Rafa’s first-team may be over, but Diame is one of few tacklers at the club, a player with invaluable Premier League experience and someone who does a solid job when called upon.
With Shelvey and Hayden also likely to leave this summer, you’d think Rafa would be reluctant to lose yet another central midfielder in big Mo.
He has just one start at St James’ Park since the turn of the year, but that stat may have to change if Benitez wants to avoid losing him on a free this summer – and I for one hope it does.