This article is part of Football FanCast’s Expert Roundup feature, which provides three quotes from those in the know in order to illuminate fundamental strengths, weaknesses, quirks, stylistic comparisons and general observations of players, transfer targets and confirmed signings.
It seems like only yesterday – and in relative terms it was – when the narrative surrounding Newcastle United was laden with large doses of doom and gloom.
Fan protests aimed at Mike Ashley’s ownership of the club were dominating the headlines while another summer of under-investment was anticipated. The departure of Rafa Benitez, meanwhile, agitated an already riled Geordie contingent.
The second priciest was Allan Saint-Maximin, bought from Nice for £16.5m and here we find a player generally familiar in name only.
Perhaps those with good memories can recall Arsenal’s interest in the French winger when he was a teen. Maybe others have seen him in Ligue 1 action in recent seasons?
Regardless the full picture eludes us, which is why Football Fancast have explored the views of experts to discover what the Magpies can expect from their new signing in the new campaign.
With a forward line depleted of Ayoze Perez and Salomon Rondon – strikers responsible for 79% of Newcastle’s goal tally last term – it hardly surprises that incoming manager Bruce was delighted to secure both Joelinton and a player capable of serving up chances for him.
The former Manchester United defender’s praise for his new recruit should therefore be taken in such context, while the caveat included within sticks out like a sore thumb. As per the Daily Mirror:
“Maxi is going to get the fans off their seat because he’s got that wow factor. He will drive us mad occasionally but has blistering speed and that trick which seems to have gone out of the game.”
In all fairness Saint-Maximin would hardly be the first wide-man to drive his team’s fans ‘mad occasionally’. Indeed, show us a player reliant on dribbling who doesn’t frustrate and all we’ll see staring back at us is Ronaldo and Messi.
Even so, after working with the 22-year-old for a single season in France, Vieira clearly believes the player’s six goals and five assists could have been added to. With the shortfall not attributed to a variance in form but rather a mentality issue, per Get French Football News:
“Allan’s problem is that sadly he thinks that talent is enough to go to the highest level. And he needs to understand that he needs to work, to make sacrifices. He needs to suffer. And sadly, he has not yet understood that.”
Compared to Bolton and Bury, is life at Newcastle really that bad? Magpies fans discuss in the video below…
A much more sympathetic assessment is made by Ripoll, who has been in charge for all of Saint-Maximin’s seven international caps at U21 level. However, while the ex-Lorient midfielder’s words offer hope it should be noted that he doesn’t necessarily disagree with Vieira. As per Chronicle Live:
“More than the individual efficiency in front of the goal, there is also the quality of his last pass, his last gesture that he can improve. But he is aware of it; he has no difficulty in analysing and recognising things.
“He has no trouble telling himself that he was wrong, he does not get lost in the analysis. This is the first base to progress, to have a good interpretation of things.”
Frustrating. Exciting. Equally capable of the brilliant as he is to be anonymous.
Is a player more entertaining than effective what the club needs right now?