Mohamed Diame became the eighth signing of Rafa Benitez’ summer trading at Newcastle United.
Players willingly giving up Premier League football and dropping into a lower division isn’t supposed to be what happens these days.
Just like Matt Ritchie, Mohamed Diame would have been an automatic starter for Hull City this season after scoring 10 goals from midfield to help win promotion.
Whilst we can’t ignore the fact that no doubt Newcastle are paying bigger wages than both Ritchie and Diame were receiving at their respective clubs, the fact is that if either player had chosen, they could have waited and got a move to another Premier League club – probably on similar money to what Newcastle have offered.
So why have they chosen St James Park to play their football?
Diame says that he already knew all about the stadium and the size of the fanbase but other factors added to that.
Firstly, the midfielder is convinced Newcastle will be making an instant return to the Premier League.
Whilst secondly, Rafa Benitez convinced Diame that promotion is just the first part of his plan, with progression in the Premier League planned out as well.
Just like players such as Ritchie and Diame, the Newcastle fans are convinced by Rafa Benitez and believe that this is the first step towards much better times ahead.
Let’s hope that collective positive thinking hits the ground running at Craven Cottage in just over 24 hours time and Newcastle turn all their advantages into points.
Mohamed Diame talking to NUFC TV:
“It’s a great feeling, to be honest. When I received a call from the manager (Rafa Benitez) I was quite surprised.
“Now I’m looking forward to working with him and looking forward to being a Newcastle player.
“Everybody close to me knows how desperate I am to play in the Premier League again, but when Newcastle comes in for you it makes you think.
“I’m looking to the future, and Newcastle, everybody knows, is a Premier League team – a big name, a massive club. We will be back in the Premier League, I’m sure.
“It is a massive stadium, with lots of fans, and they are always behind the team, pushing hard.
“I have played a few games here and I’ve quite enjoyed them, even if we were the opposing team.
“I enjoyed playing here, and I’m looking forward to it now.
“The Championship is tough, it is difficult, but you need to show people that you are a Premier League team and they can’t deal with you.
“He (Rafa Benitez) just told me that he stayed here because he wants to be in the Premier League with this club, and he has a project to come back as soon as possible and build a strong team when they come back to the Premier League. The way he talked to me convinced me to come here.
“I’m ready. I have been working with Hull even though we had a difficult situation there – but we have been working, playing games, so of course I’m fit.
“We have to be back to the Premier League – that is the target and we have to get there.”