Allan Saint-Maximin’s fourth anniversary of joining Newcastle United is just eight days away.
On 1 August 2019, the 22-year-old French winger moved from Nice to St James’ Park for £16.5m.
Allan Saint-Maximin now looks highly unlikely to make it to NUFC’s fourth birthday, with a £30m move to Al-Ahli in the Saudi Pro League now seemingly imminent. All but guaranteed now that Harvey Barnes has arrived as a Newcastle United player.
Allan Saint-Maximin’s story on Tyneside is an intriguing one, an exciting player full of potential who was also a success off the pitch, happily interacting with fans in person and via social media, as well as volunteering to help local food banks as soon as he signed in August 2019.
With each passing season I don’t think much has changed, fans are divided on ASM on what it does and doesn’t do, moments of brilliance and final product, though “potential” is still the dominant word.
In his first season at Newcastle United, Allan Saint-Maximin was the perfect tonic for the presence of Mike Ashley and Steve Bruce, after the NUFC owner had forced Rafa Benitez out of the club.
With the injury-prone Callum Wilson scoring 12 goals despite managing just 23 Premier League starts in 2019/20, both helped Newcastle United avoid relegation and provided the goals and assists to lift them out of the general misery of a club going nowhere.
Aged 23 and just 14 months at St James’ Park, this is what Allan Saint-Maximin already said during the October 2020 international break…
Asked about his long-term ambitions and whether Newcastle United could/can fulfill them, Allan Saint-Maximin spoke in October 2020 to sport.fr:
You are fighting for your second season with the Magpies, what do you think of the club? Are you planning to stay long-term?
“The club has a lot of ambitions and everyone has been following the news around Newcastle in particular with the potential takeover which ultimately didn’t happen, compared to the Premier League. There are a lot of big investors trying to buy the club. We also have a chairman who is investing a lot of money to strengthen the team and continue development.
“For my part, everything will depend on this development.
“If the club is developing well and is in line with my ambitions, staying is a possibility.
“If things don’t go that way, obviously the question of leaving will be raised.
“Now we’re in a huge league with a lot of big teams, so to be able to play in Europe and the Europa League would be really good. The Champions League is a big dream, all footballers want to play there.
“It’s a great historic club that has a lot of dreams and everything around it is there to achieve that goal.”
A year later, in the October 2021 international break, Allan Saint-Maximin talks about his dreams / ambitions again…
Allan Saint-Maximin speaking to Canal+ on a similar topic in October 2021 after the takeover of Newcastle United:
“The acquisition is good news for the players, but it is above all very good news for the supporters, for the club.
“At this point, though, there’s a lot of pressure [due to being in the relegation zone]we will do everything to win.
“I have goals and it goes through the blues [France national side]there is the World Cup [in Qatar in November / December 2022].
“I have too [playing regularly in] the Champions League in mind [as an ambition] so of course I hope that by taking over the club, my wishes, my ambitions can be in line with everything that is happening at the moment.
“I’m very happy with what’s going on at the club right now, hopefully the best is yet to come.”
Well, hopefully the best is “yet to come” for Newcastle United, but it will be without Allan Saint-Maximin.
Are these earlier ASM comments prophetic, or is this ironic…?
The ambitions / intention to play Champions League football and participate in France in major tournaments, will now be replaced by participating in the Saudi Pro League at only 26 years old.
I really like Allan Saint-Maximin, but like Ruben Neves, also 26, a move to Saudi Arabia is just a matter of money at the expense of trying to reach the big European leagues.
If Allan Saint-Maximin had smashed it next season with Newcastle United in the Premier League and Champions League, he could have made the France squad for Euro 2024 next summer in Germany. It’s safe to say that playing in the Saudi Pro League will not lead to this call-up.
It all feels a little unfulfilled, both for Allan Saint-Maximin and Newcastle United fans.
ASM has mentioned issues in his personal life last season which have been a huge distraction and have meant he has had to spend a significant amount of time in France.
Like everyone else, I have no idea on that front, but certainly in terms of football, I think we’ll all be wondering what would have been had things turned out differently with Allan Saint-Maximin at Newcastle United.
To talk so openly about Champions League aspirations and France, it’s clear Allan Saint-Maximin believed he had the talent to make it happen… potentially.
Good luck to ASM in whatever he does now, the moments of magic on Tyneside will always be remembered, but unfortunately nothing of substance.