Aston Villa should make a big-money swoop for Newcastle star Allan Saint-Maximin this summer amid Lee Hendrie’s transfer claim.
Reports in recent days and weeks have suggested that Villa’s co-owners Nassef Sawiris and Wes Edens are ready to back Dean Smith in the transfer market with a major spending spree.
Hendrie has now thrown Saint-Maximin’s name into the hat, saying that he could provide the kind of spark and “flair” that Villa should “certainly be looking at”.
Speaking exclusively to FFC’s sister site, Football Transfer Tavern, he said:
“He is one that I would certainly take. He’s got that Premier League credibility. We’ve seen what he can do.
“He’s got that attack rate, he’s got flair, you know, all sorts. He could be a key addition to a Villa side that I feel… that’s where they’ve really lacked, in wide areas. Touched on Trezeguet before, I think he’d certainly come into the side, he reminds me in certain elements of (Bertrand) Traore, but he’s possibly got that little bit more element of pace going forward and he’s very direct, so he’d be someone I’d certainly be looking at.”
After arriving from French side Nice with a reputation for the flashy – Gucci headband, anyone? – Saint-Maximin has proven that his skills and trickery are up there with the best in the Premier League.
This year has been heavily disrupted by his long-running battle with the virus, but that still hasn’t stopped him from averaging an impressive 3.2 dribbles per game in the top flight, a statistic which ranks him second among all players in the division.
One man who has seen Saint-Maximin’s talents up close is teammate Callum Wilson, with the Magpies striker waxing lyrical about his ability and how far he can go in the game.
The 29-year-old said: “I think the world’s his oyster, really. He’s got all the potential in the world and his attitude matches that as well. He’s quite a quiet, humble guy – he wears some lively clothes at times, but he’s a good guy. He’s got all the talent in the world, he can beat a player – sometimes once you’ve beaten him, get some end product, like he has been doing.
“He makes the game look so easy; for my goal against Burnley, the way he’s done a little bit of trickery himself and then just put a ball in the box – great end product, unstoppable, unplayable.”
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While it’s uncertain how much it would take to prise away the £26m-rated Frenchman, Smith should certainly be urging the Aston Villa board to be making a move for Saint-Maximin this summer – even more so if Newcastle end up getting relegated.
His top-flight experience, and the fact that he’s been impressing at a team like the Magpies who have been struggling, offers an exciting glimpse at what he could do for a team in Villa which wins more often than loses.