Leeds United put on alert after Rafa Benitez makes Mohamed Diame decision at Newcastle United

Mohamed Diame will leave Newcastle United this summer.

Friday, 3rd May 2019, 8:43 pm
Updated Friday, 3rd May 2019, 8:46 pm
Mohamed Diame.

The midfielder is two starts away from triggering a one-year contract extension.

However, Rafa Benitez has revealed that Diame – who favours a two-year extension to his deal, which expires at the end of next month – will not start the club’s penultimate Premier League game against Liverpool tonight.

And that means the 31-year-old, linked with Championship club Leeds United, will be able to leave the club as a free agent when his contract expires.

Asked if Diame was in contention to start against Liverpool, manager Benitez said: “I told you – it was not an easy one. I was talking with him a few weeks ago about something to do with his state of mind and what he was thinking.

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“I knew exactly what he was thinking, if he can play, if he has to play, he will play.

“If he’s a player who has (Isaac) Hayden playing well, Ki (Sung-yueng) or Jonjo (Shelvey), he’s not a player who will maybe have a future.

“It’s something you have to discuss with the player, and that’s it. He’s fine, he can play. Will he start? I don’t think so.”

Speaking late last month, Diame said: “I’ve always said I’m happy here playing for this club and these fans. But this is football, and you have to deal with it.

“If I stay, I will be happy, and if I don’t stay, I will be happy somewhere else. That’s it.”

Benitez paired Isaac Hayden – who wants to leave Newcastle in the summer to be with his fiancee and infant daughter – and Jonjo Shelvey in midfield against Brighton and Hove Albion last weekend. It was Shelvey’s first league start in more than five months.

Ki Sung-yueng came off the bench at the Amex Stadium, and Diame was an unused substitute.