Would Hull's Mo Diame be a good Moussa Sissoko replacement at Newcastle?
Newcastle have expected Moussa Sissoko to leave this summer and his performances at Euro 2016 increased that likelihood. He has been linked with Tottenham and Liverpool, but Real Madrid are believed to be the front-runners. Developments are likely in the coming days, and Rafa Benitez has already moved for a replacement.
There are reports that Newcastle have met Mo Diame’s release clause, according to several sources, including Sky Sports. It would be a shrewd move for a fee believed to be £4.5 million as Newcastle continue to target proven players for this division.
The midfielder has had a great spell in English football, enjoying time at Wigan, West Ham and latterly at Hull City. He is in the mould of Yaya Toure and has been a regular scorer over the years at all three clubs.
There was a time when he held hopes of playing for one of the top clubs in England, but he has been too inconsistent to earn a move to a Champions League side. However, he is a good Premier League player and will be a great addition for Newcastle as they try to achieve promotion this season.
Diame is a powerful midfield player, who can carry the ball long distances, which makes him very effective in the transition play. In years past, Sissoko has fulfilled this role at St James’ Park, which points to Diame replacing the Frenchman at the club. There are a few differences between the two and Diame will not be able to carry out Sissoko’s game entirely.
During his time at Newcastle, Sissoko has mainly been used as a right winger, despite favouring a central midfield position. Diame doesn’t have the positioning or tactical know-how to play on the right and would likely be used in the middle of the park.
This isn’t an issue though, as Benitez wants to have natural wingers, something Newcastle have not possessed recently. Matt Ritchie and Rolando Aarons are likely to start the season on the wings, while the club want to add another out-and-out winger, with Anthony Knockeart being targeted.
If this deal is completed, it is a great signing, as Diame is a profile that Newcastle don’t have in their squad. In the centre midfield positions, they have hard-working players in Jack Colback and Vurnon Anita, a playmaker in Jonjo Shelvey, and ball-winning midfielders in Isaac Hayden and Cheick Tiote. However, they lack a box-to-box midfielder with genuine quality, and that is why Diame is the perfect addition.
Last season, Diame experienced the Championship and played a vital role in Hull City’s promotion. He was one of the best players in the division, scoring ten goals across the whole campaign including the winning goal in the play-off final. It was a wonderful strike and it would be a huge blow for Hull if he does leave them this summer, especially as they have been hit with a series of injuries to only compound the effect of losing long-standing manager Steve Bruce.
Some may question his motivation if he decides to drop back down into the Championship, but there are several reasons why a move will appeal. Firstly, Hull are in a mess at the moment without a manager and only a handful of first-team players fit for the opening game. Many expect them to be relegated come May 2017, while Newcastle are the favourites to earn promotion from the Championship. Also, the opportunity to work with Rafa Benitez will be an attractive one to Diame, as it has been for Newcastle’s other summer recruits.
Newcastle need to replace Gini Wijnaldum and Moussa Sissoko in the coming weeks. Although the latter remains at the club, it looks very unlikely that he will stay past the transfer deadline. It might be wise to buy players before they land the windfall from Sissoko as clubs will know Newcastle have more money to spend, thus driving up their asking prices.
Although Diame is not as complete as Sissoko and is three years older, he would be a good replacement considering Newcastle’s relegation. He would once again be one of the best players in the division and add goals to Newcastle’s midfield, something which it currently lacks.
The Magpies are still in the market for two or three players and if they are all as good as Diame, the rest of the Championship will be very concerned.
Featured image: all rights reserved by domfell.
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