By Richard Parks
Garth Crooks has drooled over Mohamed Diame on the BBC Sport website following his shock rejuvenation in recent months.
The midfielder, 30, was destroyed by supporters earlier on in the season but has won many of them over with his form in alliance with Jonjo Shelvey in the centre.
BBC pundit and former Spurs striker Crooks was impressed by Diame’s performance in Newcastle’s 2-1 win against Arsenal on Sunday and named him in his team of the week.
“Mo Diame is among the many players Benitez has rejuvenated at Newcastle,” Crooks told the BBC Sport website. “Not since his days at West Ham have I seen the Senegal international look so fit and in such good form.
“Against Arsenal, Diame was outstanding, as were the entire Newcastle team. What a pity the Magpies are not in the hands of someone who really appreciates what this club, their supporters and their manager have to offer.”
The Daily Star claim Diame earns £45,000-a-week at St James’ Park.
Football Insider verdict:
If you had told Newcastle supporters a few months ago that Diame would form half of one of the most impressive central midfield partnerships in the Premier League in the second half of the season, the majority of Magpies fans would have laughed you out of court. The Senegal international was a byword for incompetence for many, who claimed he lack the class to be a force in the top flight. But Diame’s industry and power has combined with the guile and distribution of Shelvey more effectively than surely even Benitez had hoped. They were too strong for Arsenal on Sunday and have been at the heart of the team’s run of four consecutive league wins.
In other Newcastle United transfer news, West Ham have tabled a staggering bid for one of Rafael Benitez’s favourite players.