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Opinion

Allan Saint-Maximin transfer makes every sense – Newcastle United fans are kidding themselves

7 months ago
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Allan Saint-Maximin appears to be on his way out of St James’ Park, a transfer expected to be announced very soon.

There has been a debate going on these last four years about the French winger.

With so many flair players, this debate / argument amongst Newcastle United fans has basically been a case of on one side the fans who point out what he does do, then the other supporters pointing to what Allan Saint-Maximin doesn’t do.

I am an Allan Saint-Maximin fan and have consistently been amongst those pointing out his positives during his time playing for Newcastle United.

However, many of the Newcastle United fans now suddenly traumatised by the idea of Allan Saint-Maximin leaving, are no doubt the same kind of people who…

Are outraged by the idea of all the train station ticket offices closing BUT who at the same time have only bought train tickets online for years, getting tickets sent straight to their email / phone, and who can’t even remember the last time they used a ticket office at a statement.

Think it is terrible how Amazon is so dominant and putting many smaller online retailers out of business BUT at the same time, buy all their stuff from Amazon.

Believe it is a disgrace that all the local post offices are disappearing BUT almost exclusively use courier services now and even buy stamps from a newsagents etc, unable to remember they actually went into a post office themselves.

Lament the death of the high street BUT buy everything online and can’t remember the last time they went into a physical shop on the high street to buy anything.

Say it is a crying shame that their local restaurants full of character have now all disappeared BUT they sit at home never going out, ordering delivered takeaways from Deliveroo / Uber Eats etc.

Bottom line is that many of these Newcastle United fans are devastated at the idea of Allan Saint-Maximin moving to another club BUT at the same time also think ASM should be nowhere near the starting line-up now.

These NUFC fans think Allan Saint-Maximin is a thing of the past, now a square peg that doesn’t fit any of the Eddie Howe round holes, but at the same time wanting to cling on to this nostalgic idea / belief rooted in the past.

For over two years under Steve Bruce, the only ‘plan’ was for the whole Newcastle team to stay as close to their own penalty area/goal as possible and hope the deep density of defenders would prevent a goal, then on the rare occasions when NUFC got possession, give Allan Saint-Maximin the ball and hope he did something.

That is now history.

When Eddie Howe arrived in November 2021, Newcastle United were involved in a desperate mid-season relegation struggle. That then made all the worse when key striker / goalscorer got injured in late December, with so few clubs prepared to sell their main striker / goalscorer during a season, a deal was done to pay his release clause and bring in Chris Wood.

Wood was asked to do an unselfish lead the line, defend from the front, drop deep when necessary, help others to be a goal threat. So actually, in that second half of the 2021/22 season, whilst things totally changed at Newcastle United, they also actually changed not very much at all for the likes of Allan Saint-Maximin.

Eddie Howe relying on a strong disciplined defensive set-up as he began repairing the shambles left behind by Steve Bruce, with then somebody like Allan Saint-Maximin still given a lot of freedom to be the NUFC attacking wildcard.

ASM started all four of the opening Premier League games in August 2022 but then got injured and despite being back available in October 2022, it would be February 2023 before he got another PL start.

Eddie Howe kicked off the very start of October with a bit of a different set-up and it was the beginning of the end for Allan Saint-Maximin I believe. Seven wins and a draw in the eight PL games before breaking for the Qatar World Cup and Eddie Howe finding a more fluid and flexible way of doing things on the left side in front of Dan Burn, players interchanging and Joe Willock and Joelinton especially combining to great effect.

As I say, for Allan Saint-Maximin, it is now classic round peg / square hole.

Whilst pretty much every other midfielder / winger can come into the team and know exactly the job they need to do and little / nothing changing in how the team operates, with ASM he is just a different kind of player.

If by any chance he did end up staying, Allan Saint-Maximin would now simply have to be content as a supersub, a wildcard to throw on if nothing else was working.

In no way would ASM be key to what Eddie Howe wants to do this season.

Overall, Allan Saint-Maximin has been very good for Newcastle United and especially in terms of helping us to endure the Ashley / Bruce two and a bit years. Probably every chance NUFC would have got relegated in one of those two Bruce full PL season if ASM hadn’t been at the club.

Now though it is time for both parties to move on.

Ironically, the biggest strength of Allan Saint-Maximin in his first two or three seasons at St James’ Park is now pretty much his biggest weakness in the current / new set-up, his unpredictability.

If he does end up in Saudi Arabia then I will be relieved ASM won’t come back to haunt us at times for another Premier League club, however, at his age (26) I would be hoping that Allan Saint-Maximin will end up at a club in mainland Europe where we can see if he can fulfil his potential in another strong league.

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