Manchester United are reportedly plotting an audacious move for Newcastle United star, Allan Saint-Maximin, as manager Erik ten Hag looks to bolster his attacking options before the window slams shut.
According to Media Foot, the Red Devils are ‘considering’ an approach for the fleet-footed Frenchman and have not ruled out a move before the September deadline, having yet to add to their forward line so far this summer.
The report suggests, however, that it could prove difficult to prise the 25-year-old from St James’ Park with four years still to run on his existing deal, with the Magpies themselves having also failed to acquire an attacking addition in the current window.
That being said, there had been reports earlier this summer that Eddie Howe and co were potentially willing to part ways with the former Nice man – who joined the Tynesiders on a £16.5m deal three years ago – with a fee of around £50m having been mooted.
As United’s move for Ajax winger Antony continues to drag on, turning to Saint-Maximin could well be a viable alternative, with the explosive talent having already proven himself in the Premier League.
Although his attacking output could no doubt be better – with just 11 goals and 15 assists in his top-flight career to date – the £38k-per-week menace is a simply unique asset and one that would provide sheer, box office entertainment to the United faithful.
An at times “unpredictable” wideman – according to teammate Matt Targett – the £28.8m-rated ace possesses that innate ability to bamboozle the opposition with his relentless speed and dribbling ability, notably ranking in the top 1% among those in his position across Europe’s top five leagues in that latter metric.
For all the naysayers doubting his consistency, including pundit Noel Whelan, it is hard not to revel in watching the dynamic forward in full flow, having most recently run champions Manchester City ragged in the 3-3 draw on Sunday.
Those at United would no doubt have been forced to sit up and take notice at the manner in which the 5 foot 8 sensation toyed with the typically reliable Kyle Walker, leaving the Englishman for dead in the build-up to Callum Wilson’s first-half effort.
Such an impact proved that the one-time Monaco man can provide the telling end product when required to go with his majestic brilliance, although beyond goal contributions and statistics he is simply a figure to whom eyeballs are glued; a true “showman”, in the words of pundit Charlie Nicholas.
That is a phrase that can well be attributed to one of the finest figures to have taken the Old Trafford turf in Eric Cantona, with the hope being that Saint-Maximin can replicate the impact of his iconic compatriot.
For all the sublime that that has adorned the red jersey throughout the modern era – including Cristiano Ronaldo, Wayne Rooney and Paul Scholes among others – it is Cantona that remains arguably the most beloved of them all.
A controversial and at times bizarre figure, the one-time Leeds United man was a true legend at the Theatre of Dreams in every sense of the word, proving the catalyst for change as Sir Alex Ferguson’s side romped to glory in the early Premier League era.
His 126 goal contributions in just 156 league games aside, it was his instinctive, off-the-cuff style and refreshing arrogance that saw him become such a legendary figure among supporters, having provided that much-needed x-factor to an already talented team.
Much like with the forward’s move from Elland Road 30 years ago, eyebrows would no doubt be raised were Ten Hag and co to pursue Saint-Maximin as deadline day approaches. But, then again, much like with Cantona, the Newcastle starlet has the brilliance to prove the doubters wrong.
The Old Trafford stage awaits…