Allan Saint-Maximin cut a forlorn figure last weekend.
Yet again the sole Steve Bruce attacking plan was for the French player to be given the ball and hope he could do something on his own.
No proper attacking strategy and minimal help from teammates, as Steve Brcue adopted his usual ultra negative game plan, with the team defending deep and showing minimal ambition.
Despite that, Allan Saint-Maximin did produce Newcastle’s only effort on target and made eight successful dribble in the game, more than any player for any PL team in this round of matches. That despite Bruce’s negative game plan and ASM usually getting the ball so deep and surrounded by opposition players.
Ahead of that Arsenal game, the 24 year old was speaking about life at Newcastle and the future.
Allan Saint-Maximin talking to the official match programme last weekend ahead of the Arsenal win at St James Park:
“I hope we don’t fight again to not go down.
“For me, Newcastle should not have to fight for this.
“My ambition is to go up with the club.
“It’s what I always say when we talk with the players.
“We have a good team but in the Premier League it’s not good enough to have only a good team.
“Every team has some good players… this sometimes is hard, but for my future, I know I need to play and play good football.”
That is as much as you are ever going to get in an official club publication. Plenty of media though have picked up on the fact though that Allan Saint-Maximin is making it clear that Newcastle United do have to show more ambition and be more competitive, or else his long-term future ‘may’ have to be at another club.
I think it is well worth looking at this other interview on the same subject that Allan Saint-Maximin gave back in October 2020, speaking far more freely to French media…
Asked about his longer-term ambitions and whether Newcastle United could / can fulfil them, Allan Saint-Maximin speaking on 9 October 2020 to sport.fr:
You are fighting your second season with the Magpies, what do you think of the club? Do you plan to stay for the long term?
“The club has a lot of ambitions and everyone has followed the news around Newcastle in particular with the possible takeover which was ultimately not possible, compared to the Premier League. There are a lot of big investors trying to buy the club. We also have a president who invests a lot of money in order to strengthen the team and continue the development.
“For my part, everything will depend on this development.
“If the club is developing well and it is in line with my ambitions, staying is a possibility.
“If things don’t turn out like that, obviously the question of leaving will arise.
“Now we are in a huge league with a lot of big teams, so being able to play in Europe and the Europa League would be really great. The Champions League is a big dream, every footballer wants to play it.
“It’s a great, historic club that has a lot of dreams and there is everything around it to achieve this goal. ”
At the time of that interview with French media, Newcastle had started the season with two wins, one draw and one defeat. So, there was some room for optimism.
Since then though, in the next 30 PL matches Newcastle have picked up only 29 points and are fourth bottom of the table, still not safe from relegation. There were also two tame cup exits to Championship Brentford and Arsenal. These last 30 PL games have seen Newcastle fail to win 23 of them, losing 15 and drawing 8.
It would be heartbreaking if we lost Allan Saint-Maximin this summer but if a club came in for him, would you honestly blame ASM if he left? Whilst Mike Ashley is still in charge, employing no-hopers like Steve Bruce, showing no ambition, what is the attraction of staying at St James Park?