Allan Saint-Maximin has been at St James Park just over 11 months now.
Signing on 1 August 2019 the 22 year old French winger arrived from Nice for a reported £16m initial fee, with claims that this will go up to £20m once he hits certain targets.
With Steve Bruce eventually arriving on 17 July 2019 after a saga which ended with Mike Ashley agreeing for Newcastle to pay compensation to Sheffield Wednesday, then Joelinton arriving five days later for £40m (Ashley says £43m), the signing of Allan Saint-Maximin was a little overshadowed.
The fact he only played 31 minutes in all the friendlies due to his late arrival, meant he was still very much an unknown quantity.
The first sighting in a competitive match was the 23 minutes Allan Saint-Maximin got from the bench in the opening day defeat to Arsenal. Having shown zero goal threat for 67 minutes, ASM did more going forward in his brief appearance than the rest of the team combined, nothing astounding but he did have NUFC’s only effort on target from what I recall.
A hamstring injury saw him miss the embarrassing run around Newcastle got at Norwich but after only two days back in training Steve Bruce rushed him back for Spurs away on 25 August 2019. ASM only lasting 17 minutes as Bruce foolishly rushing the winger back far too soon saw him not starting again in the Premier League until October, the 1-0 win over Man Utd.
Fair to say that there then followed a number of months of fans enjoying the fact that they at last had a skilful and exciting winger to lift the tedium of watching some very negative football, BUT at the same time, saying if only he had the end product…
At times it was very fine margins, just missing the goal and / or outstanding saves, picking the wrong time to pass, or as was so often the case, very often having such limited options of teammates to pass to in advanced positions.
When his first came it was very bizarre, a towering Allan Saint-Maximin from an Andy Carroll cross to set NUFC on their way to beating Sheffield United away in December.
Gradually ASM became more and more of a threat, his next goal not until February, a stunning solo run and finish to beat Oxford in the FA Cup replay.
His skills had attracted wider attention but in more recent games that has gone to a whole different level.
Man of the match and the winner at Southampton, MOTM and opening goal against Sheffield United, MOTM against Villa, MOTM and three assists at Bournemouth.
As interest grows ever wider in the winger, I just can’t get excited about Allan Saint-Maximin.
The thing is, who would be that surprised if ASM was no longer with us for the 2020/21 season?
Why get excited about having this dribbling sensation when he may slip through our fingers so quickly?
I will still look forward to watching him play in each of these remaining six PL matches of 2019/20 but the better he plays, I just think the more chance there is of him leaving.
Unless of course this NUFC takeover goes through.
I was worried about maybe a Leicester coming in for Allan Saint-Maximin as they did with Perez, or Wolves if they sell Traore, Two ambitious clubs with Champions League or at least Europa League football to offer next season.
Now of course it is even worse because if ASM keeps this kind of recent form up, which club wouldn’t be interested?
Mike Ashley quickly showed us what he was about when willing to sell Andy Carroll after he’d scored 11 goals in half a PL season.
The biggest disgrace was summer 2012, not allowing a penny of net spending to build on the fifth place. I don’t think a single NUFC player played as well for us ever again as they had that season, as they realised zero ambition existed with Ashley.
Decent investment in that 2011/12 team and rewarding key players with market rate wage increases, the likes of Cabaye and Ba may well have stayed and helped Newcastle establish themselves as a top six side, rather than regular relegation fighters.
If the Newcastle United takeover is concluded then I would suddenly be very excited about Allan Saint-Maximin, new owners making him the centre of their aspirations, bringing in other star quality to complement the likes of Dubravka and him.
Still stuck with Mike Ashley?
Steve Bruce has said that Allan Saint-Maximin is not for sale but that is what Alan Pardew said about Carroll…until Mike Ashley sold him.
If he was offered three or four times what was paid for ASM only a year ago, I can very much see Ashley thinking he can then use £30m or so of the sale price to fund a replacement and the rest of Newcastle’s transfer spend this summer, then bank the other £30m or so. Who know what a club might offer, players who dribble, create and score goals are what everybody is after.
Including the midweek demolition of Bournemouth, these stats below show that 10 of Newcastle’s 11 Premier League wins have been with ASM starting.
In the 14 of the 32 PL matches where Saint-Maximin hasn’t started, NUFC have only won once.
This is Newcastle United’s PL record this season when Allan Saint-Maximin hasn’t been able to start:
Played 14 Won 1 Drawn 5 Lost 8 Points 8 Goals For 9 Goals Against 26
This is Newcastle United’s PL record this season when Allan Saint-Maximin has been able to start:
Played 18 Won 10 Drawn 4 Lost 4 Points 34 Goals For 24 Goals Against 17
These stats above prove for me just how good Allan Saint-Maximin is and also how poor the team is without him, when it comes to providing a goal threat.
When / if the new owners of Newcastle United are confirmed, that is when I will get very excited about Allan Saint-Maximin and the possibilities that will open up.
As things stand now, I won’t get my hopes up, only to risk having them dashed like so many other times under this owner.