Steve Bruce would have tried to sign Mohamed Diame during the summer had he been hired earlier, after Newcastle United saw their contract offer rejected by the Senegal midfielder, as quoted by the Chronicle.
Diame was offered a one-season contract extension at St. James’ Park before his terms came to their end in June, but chose to reject the tabled offer as he did not want to face the same situation in 12-months time.
Diame joined Newcastle from Hull City on a three-year contract in 2016 alongside Ciaran Clark’s arrival from Aston Villa, after the Magpies triggered release clauses in their respective contracts (BBC).
The Toon’s acquisitions saw Diame leave the KC Stadium after striking the Championship Play-Off Final winner under Bruce, who looks back fondly on his time with the 32-year-old.
Diame is now playing in Qatar for Al Ahli, whom he has represented twice so far (TransferMarkt), after featuring in 103 fixtures for Newcastle across all competitions – only his time with Wigan Athletic returned more minutes.
Had Bruce been appointed to the St. James’ Park helm sooner, he is adamant that he would have tried to see that Diame remained in the North East, but was left with no part to play in discussions.
“I enjoyed working with Mo Diame [at Hull], Bruce said. “He was excellent for me, and I believe he was excellent here.
“A very, very good player, but it was done and dusted before I came here. Certainly, had I been here, I would have tried to keep him. He’s a good player.”
Diame scored eight times in his 103 Newcastle appearances, while being credited with three assists.
Had Bruce been appointed sooner and managed to agree on a deal with Diame that would have seen the 35-cap former Senegal international remain at St. James’ Park, it would have been interesting to see where he saw the midfielder featuring in his plans.
The Toon boss has so far called on Isaac Hayden, Sean Longstaff, Jonjo Shelvey, and Ki Sung-Yueng in the league (WhoScored), and has further support from the youth ranks in Matt Longstaff – who earned his senior debut in the Carabao Cup (TransferMarkt).
Signing a 32-year-old Diame down to a likely two-year contract would also have been a big commitment from Newcastle on a player that may not feature much, and was earning £45,000-a-week in the North East (Spotrac) – more than all bar Shelvey, Yoshinori Muto and Joelinton (The Times).
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