Newcastle United are currently enjoying their first full season under Saudi Arabian consortium PIF’s ownership of the Magpies since they bought a majority shareholding from Mike Ashley in October 2021.
PIF opted to relieve Steve Bruce of his duties and brought in Eddie Howe to become the new manager of the Magpies and he kept the club in the Premier League in the 2021/22 campaign.
The Daily Mail described Ashley as being ‘much-maligned’ during his time on Tyneside but he did have some good moments in charge of the club, alongside Bruce.
One piece of business that Newcastle fans may thank him for completing is the signing of Allan Saint-Maximin from Ligue 1 side Nice in the summer of 2019.
He swooped to snap the French winger up for a fee reported to be in the region of £16.5m and then manager Bruce lauded the forward’s quality at the time, saying that “he has all the attributes you would want in an attacking player.”
The attacker enjoyed a solid, albeit unspectacular, debut season in English football as he produced three goals and four assists in 26 Premier League appearances. He then had the same number of direct goal contributions in the following campaign, before stepping up his game in 2021/22.
Saint-Maximin was a crucial player throughout the season for Howe as he chipped in with five goals and five assists from out wide, whilst creating 1.4 chances per match and seven ‘big chances’ in total.
No Newcastle player completed more dribbles, produced more opportunities, or provided more assists than the Frenchman in the Premier League and that illustrates how integral he was to the team.
The winger, who journalist Luke Edwards once described as a “marvellous magician“, completed more dribbles than any player in the entire division last term, after Adama Traore was the only player to average more per game than the ex-Nice man in 2020/21.
He is a player who gets fans off their seats with his exciting runs in possession of the ball and he has shown that he does have the quality to make an impact, although maybe not consistently enough to make him one of the best in the league, in the final third with goals and assists.
Earlier this year, it was reported that the club valued Saint-Maximin at around £50m and were prepared to cash in for him at that price, although they eventually kept hold of the wing wizard.
This means that the Magpies believe that he is worth £33.5m more than he was when they signed him from the French top-flight in 2019.
Therefore, Newcastle and Ashley played a blinder by signing him three years ago as he has produced superb performances on the pitch and is now deemed to be an asset worth far more than they paid for him.