Rafa Benitez says Mohamed Diame’s a key player at Newcastle United – on and off the pitch.
The midfielder has been outstanding since the turn of the year.
He’s someone who can talk English, French and he can talk Spanish, so then he can talk with a Spanish player, with a French players, with the English players.Mohamed Diame
Diame, signed from Hull City two years ago, struggled for form in the Championship last season when he was used as a No 10.
The 30-year-old has been fielded as a conventional midfielder alongside Jonjo Shelvey this season.
Multilingual Diame only has a year left on his deal, and Benitez will assess the contractual situations of a number of players this summer.
Asked if he wanted to keep Diame beyond next season, United manager Benitez said: “Players, you have to understand that they have sometimes some momentum, and you have to see the whole picture.
“It’s not just ‘oh, now he’s doing well and he deserves this’.
“But he’s someone who can talk English, French and he can talk Spanish, so then he can talk with a Spanish player, with a French players, with the English players.
“He’s very good with all of them, because he’s a very good character.”
Former Liverpool defender Gregory Vignal – who played with Diame at Lens – was a recent visitor to United’s training ground.
“We had a visitor the other day, Gregory Vignal, who is a former Liverpool player and he played with Diame in France,” said Benitez. “He’s now working for Rangers.
“When he saw Mo, he remembered him as a midfielder, so we were talking about that and he said ‘he has strong legs, he has the power’, and it’s true. He’s playing there, and he’s using his power to make the difference.
“Last year, when he was playing a little bit higher in the Championship, he was fine, because he could score some goals and he could do well, but he’s not a proper No 10.
“In the middle, when you have the power and you have Jonjo Shelvey close to you, you find the balance.”