Allan Saint-Maximin is raw and there is no denying that Newcastle United are lucky to have him and he will probably go on to play for a big European club.
But retaining the Frenchman for as long as possible whilst the stewardship and partnership of Mike Ashley and Steve Bruce continues is essential in the Magpies’ continued quest to retain their Premier League status.
However, former Saint Etienne youth coach Gilles Rodriguez, who worked with Saint-Maximin, believes the 24-year-old is capable of better.
Saint-Maximin progressed through the Saints’ academy under Rodriguez before joining Monaco after 17 first-team appearances, as per Transfermarkt.
Rodriguez, who recently stepped down from his youth academy role after 30 years in the job, felt that Saint-Maximin left Saint-Etienne “too early”.
Speaking to But! Football Club, Rodriguez said: “Of the last 7 – 8 years, there is especially one (regret): Allan Saint-Maximin. He was the most talented.
“Allan has a huge talent. What he lacked to score more at the club was the mind. He left too early. This is a pity for ASSE.
“If this boy had been able to do five or six seasons with us with a good state of mind, he would have been extraordinary.”
Allan Saint-Maximin is destined for bigger and better
On his day the Frenchman is unplayable. He’s a matchwinner and that is an area that Newcastle are in short supply of.
But instead of battling to keep his side in the division, Rodriguez believes Saint-Maximin should be playing for a top club and challenging for trophies.
Rodriguez added: “Today, he is at Newcastle and it can be said that he still succeeds in his career.
“Personally, I am more mixed. Compared to his extraordinary talent and the age he is at today (24), Saint-Maximin should have played in a much more upscale club. Newcastle is already good but that’s my feeling.”
The mercurial forward has already had a taste of European football, he’s played six Europa League games and played two Champions League qualifying matches with Nice [Transfermarkt] before Newcastle signed him for £16.5m [Sky Sports].
As much as he is adored by the St James’ Park faithful, Saint-Maximin will no doubt want to get his hands on some silverware and have aspirations of becoming a regular French international.
But with his contract on Tyneside not expiring until 2026, Ashley will command a hefty fee for any potential suitor and be eager to make a considerable profit on a player who isn’t even in his prime yet, but continues to torment defences.
Newcastle fans will hope Saint-Maximin stays at the club beyond his current deal. But unless the infamous takeover is finally sanctioned or Ashley has a dramatic U-turn on his plans and ambitions for the club, the prospect of the club’s number 10 leaving will always remain a possibility.