Back in November, Aston Villa fans made it very clear that they did not want Mo Diame in claret and blue.
At the time, Diame was out of favour at Newcastle United and, when he had made a rare appearance for the Magpies, hardly made a positive impression. So Villa fans were unsurprisingly united in saying ‘thanks, but no thanks’ to Diame’s advances.
But if the former Wigan Athletic and West Ham United powerhouse was in this kind of form back in the Autumn, perhaps Villa supporters would have been more open to the idea of Diame moving to the Midlands.
The 30-year-old has turned his fortunes around and is now one of the first names on Rafa Benitez’s team-sheet. He has started each of the last five Premier League games and scored in Sunday’s 1-1 draw with relegation rivals Crystal Palace.
Diame has even edged ahead of the highly-rated Mikel Merino and last season’s star man Jonjo Shelvey in the Newcastle pecking order.
And Benitez, who has fielded Diame in his favoured deep midfield role this season as opposed to last season’s ill-fated number ten experiment, admitted to the Chronicle that he is probably playing the best football of his Newcastle career.
While Villa are doing fine themselves right now, and are in with an excellent chance of automatic promotion from the Championship, a dynamic and forceful Diame in this kind of form would have come in very handy.
After all, it was Diame’s Wembley wonder-goal that catapulted Bruce’s Hull to the Premier League back in 2016.