Mo Diame not worrying about his contract

The 31-year-old midfielder is edging closer to making a specified number of appearances in his final season that will immediately lead to an extra year on his existing terms.

It is a similar situation to the one Stewart Downing is faced with at Middlesbrough, whereby he will be granted a fresh deal if he makes one more start for the Teesside club. That agreement in his deal has prevented him from starting a game in 2019 and manager Tony Pulis has only been able to hand him substitute appearances since the turn of the year.

Pulis has been asked not to start him for the 23rd time this season – half of the club’s league games – because Boro are reluctant to hand him the sort of terms that have made him the highest paid player at the Riverside in recent years. It is unclear at this stage the finer details of what Diame’s contract states, although it is known he will be granted a one-year extension if he reaches a certain number of games. The former Hull City man, who joined three years ago, is banking on staying, although it is understood he would like to have the security of a two-year deal if he is to stay.

Diame said: “My thinking is still the same. I’m happy here, but it’s not me who’s going to decide about my future. “I just try to help the team to get the target, and afterwards we’ll see. It’s not the moment to talk about my future. “I’m happy and settled down in Newcastle. Everything is OK. I’m focused on the target, that’s it. “The manager needs me to give everything for this team and it’s what I will do until the end.”

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Diame has started 21 matches so far in the Premier League this season and appeared once as a substitute. His last start was against Manchester United on January 2. Since then injury has been the reason why he has been missing and that has paved the way for the emergence of Sean Longstaff in the middle, where he has paired up well with Isaac Hayden.

Diame did get introduced as a late sub at Wolves last Monday and he has been in Spain with the squad building up to this Saturday’s visit of Huddersfield to St James’ Park.

Newcastle manager Rafa Benitez values Diame’s experience and quality in the middle of midfield, and his versatility means he can play deep or higher up the field. Given his age, Newcastle’s previous policy from within the boardroom is that they would prefer younger players who have a resale value.

However, as he was brought in for £4m a few years ago, the fact he is already at the club is likely to mean they would be happy to retain him.