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Opinion

Allan Saint-Maximin set to leave Newcastle United this summer?

17 seconds ago
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Steve Bruce has been talking about the situation regarding Allan Saint-Maximin.

The French winger claimed to be attracting the interest of various clubs.

The player himself having told French media last year that he was happy at Newcastle but that if the club didn’t show ambition, he would have to think about moving on, sometime in the future.

So is that ‘sometime’ going to be this 2021 summer time?

Steve Bruce talking about the Allan Saint-Maximin situation ahead of the Arsenal match:

“I said that he would always attract attention, attract interest.

“You can see when he’s playing and he is playing injury-free, then he is a special, special talent, which inevitably will draw interest…but the last thing that we want to be doing is selling our better players.

“You only have to watch him once to realise that he is a really, really, gifted, talented footballer.

“He has a wonderful talent, we understand that, but he has got to find that consistency which every big player needs and of course, stay well.”

What is not in doubt is Steve Bruce’s absolute reliance on Allan Saint-Maximin.

When ASM is absent it is difficult to spot any realistic attacking plan and when the 24 year old plays, the only Bruce plan appears to be telling the players to give the ball to Allan Saint-Maximin and hope he can do something on his own.

Just look at these stats of Premier League matches since Allan Saint-Maximin and Steve Bruce arrived at St James Park:

OVERALL PREMIER LEAGUE TOTALS AT NUFC WITH ALLAN SAINT-MAXIMIN STARTING:

Played 37 Won 15 Drawn 9 Lost 13 Points 54 Goals For 47 Goals Against 52

OVERALL PREMIER LEAGUE TOTALS AT NUFC WITHOUT ALLAN SAINT-MAXIMIN STARTING:

Played 34 Won 5 Drawn 11 Lost 18 Points 26 Goals For 27 Goals Against 60

As you can see, massive differences in every area.

With Allan Saint-Maximin starting in Premier League matches, Newcastle United average per match: 1.46 points, 1.27 goals for, 1.41 goals against.

Without Allan Saint-Maximin starting in Premier League matches, Steve Bruce and Newcastle United average per match: 0.76 points, 0.79 goals for, 1.76 goals against.

No wonder, Newcastle fans perceive Steve Bruce’s entire attacking plan to consist of give the ball to Allan Saint-Maximin.

Then these are those five Premier League matches that Steve Bruce has managed to win these past 22 months without Allan Saint-Maxiin starting:

21 December 2019 – Newcastle 1 Crystal Palace 0

27 November 2020 – Crystal Palace 0 Newcastle 2

12 December 2020 – Newcastle 2 West Brom 1

30 January 2021 – Everton 0 Newcastle 2

11 April 2021 – Burnley 1 Newcastle 2

The win at Burnley was of course only achieved solely due to Allan Saint-Maximin, a goal down until he was introduced from the bench when within seven minutes he scored one and made one.

Everton as well, the scoreline was 0-0 when ASM was introduced from the bench midway through the second half.

When you then consider that the win at Palace was due to two goals in the last two minutes, the West Brom one saw Gayle getting the winner eight minutes from time, then the Palace one had Almiron scoring seven minutes off full-time. Not a single remotely comfortable win for Steve Bruce these two seasons, unless Allan Saint-Maximin has been involved.

So, zero doubt really of ASM’s value to Newcastle United and certainly for the fans, as the maverick Frenchman gives you that most valuable of commodities…hope.

What about other clubs who are potentially circling, are Newcastle fans in danger of seeing the club’s key asset leaving in a few months time?

Personally, I think two of three big things will prevent that.

The top one of course is nobody prepared to pay enough to tempt Mike Ashley to sell.

Then the other two things are the key reasons as to why nobody would pay Ashley’s asking price. Namely, ASM’s fitness record and his end product stats.

So far in his Newcastle career, Allan Saint-Maximin has only managed to start 37 of the 71 Premier League matches, only a fraction over half. Of the 6,390 PL minutes he could have potentially played, ASM has actually played less than half of them, only 3,042 minutes.

As for end product, these past 22 months have seen Allan Saint-Maximin directly involved in 14 Premier League goals, with six goals and eight assists. Three goals and four assists for Newcastle last season and the same so far this campaign.

Obviously he is exciting to watch and causes other problems for the opposition with his direct running attracting players to him. However, when you consider say somebody like Jesse Lingard has already been directly involved in twelve goals in only eleven West Ham PL games, nine goals and three assists, it puts ASM’s stats into perspective.

Little doubt that under a better manager playing less negative football, Allan Saint-Maximin could do far better. However, just how much better remains and unknown for other clubs and managers.

I’m guessing somebody would probably pay around £25m this summer if Allan Saint-Maximin was available to buy but I would assume, Mike Ashley would expect at least twice that before he would be tempted.

Hopefully Allan Saint-Maximin WILL start providing more of that end product and score and make goals for fun next season.

Then we would just have to really hope that by then Newcastle United are in a very different position and under different ownership…

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