This article is part of Football FanCast’s The Chalkboard series, which provides a tactical insight into teams, players, managers, potential signings and more…
It was announced on Friday that Newcastle had completed the signing of OGC Nice winger Allan Saint-Maximin in a £16.5m deal, with the exciting attacker signing a six-year contract with the club.
It is definitely a capture that should excite the St James’ Park faithful.
The Frenchman is known for his flamboyancy, performing a number of skills mid-game and doing so whilst wearing a Gucci headband as he did at times last term – he oozes confidence.
Additionally, in bringing the 22-year-old to Tyneside, the Magpies finally have an expert in the dribbling field after missing such a presence last term.
In plain black and white, Newcastle’s lack of a dribbler is shown by the statistics from last season.
The Newcastle player who completed the most dribbles per game in the Premier League was Ayoze Perez with a mere 1.2, whilst the closest man behind him was Christian Atsu – to make matters worse, Perez has since left the club.
In extreme contrast, Saint-Maximin completed a whopping 4.2 dribbles per game, putting him amongst the best in Europe in that specific field – only Sofiane Boufal completed more dribbles than Saint-Maximin’s 143 in the top five leagues, with 144 to his name.
It should be noted that, behind Perez and Atsu, the dribbling statistics for this Newcastle team are awful – it seems as if no-one is keen on carrying the ball up the pitch and taking people on.
After Miguel Almiron’s 0.7, Jonjo Shelvey, Sean Longstaff, Mohamed Diame and centre-back Fabian Schar are the next best dribblers at the club having completed 0.6 dribbles per game, which in itself is an extremely low amount – especially compared to Saint-Maximin’s huge tally.
Finally, it seems as if this Newcastle side, devoid of someone who can excite fans and take people on, has got just what it needs – an expert in the dribbling field who can add a new dimension to the side.
Time for Atsu to move over as the Magpies’ dribbler-in-chief.