Rafa Benitez stalwart set for new deal at Newcastle United

Mohamed Diame at Molineux.
Mohamed Diame at Molineux.

Mohamed Diame is closing in on a new deal at Newcastle United.

The midfielder – who made his comeback from injury in Monday night’s 1-1 draw against Wolverhampton Wanderers – is in the final year of his contract at St James’s Park.

Mohamed Diame against Manchester United.

Mohamed Diame against Manchester United.

However, the Gazette understands that Diame, signed from Hull City in the summer of 2016 for £4.5million, will trigger a one-year extension to his deal if he plays 25 games for the club this season.

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The 31-year-old has made 22 Premier League appearances – 21 starts and one substitute’s appearance – so far this season.

Diame, an ever-present in the first half of the campaign, would have already triggered the extension had he not fractured a metatarsal in training early last month.

Speaking at Molineux after coming on against Wolves for the last four minutes, the former Senegal international said: “It’s difficult to be outside the pitch – watching the game from the stand is not easy.

“Now I’m back, and I hope I will help the team. I will give everything to help the team and make sure we get our target as soon as possible.”

Diame, understood to be keen to commit to the relegation-threatened club for another two years, is set to play in tomorrow’s friendly against CSKA Moscow in Murcia, Spain.

Rafa Benitez is using the game to top of the fitness of a number of players ahead of the February 23 home game against Huddersfield Town.

Paul Dummett, Ki Sung-yueng and Karl Darlow are back training after recovering from injuries, while Yoshinori Muto returned to Tyneside following Japan’s Asian Cup campaign last week.

However, Jonjo Shelvey, sidelined since January 5, won’t be involved against CSKA, though the midfielder has been training with his team-mates at the club’s Spanish base this week.

The Wolves result, meanwhile, left Newcastle 16th in the Premier League and a point above the relegation zone ahead of Huddersfield’s visit to St James’s Park.