Newcastle United have their problems, but they are the best choice for Allan Saint-Maximin. He simply has to stay.
The Frenchman stirred many suitors with his standout displays at the tail-end of last season, putting in dazzling performances against the likes of Sheffield United and West Ham.
Last campaign, the attacker showed off his progression from the season before, becoming one of the most competent dribbles across Europe’s top five leagues. He managed to complete 5.5 dribbles per 90 minutes – just behind Ryan Cherki in the charts last campaign.
Indeed, the 24-year-old has proven to be one of Newcastle’s most important players, while his social media presence has won over fans as well.
He has impressed Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp, who called him a ‘proper footballer’ back in April.
The club did well in tying the player down to a new long-term deal in October. The deal will see Saint-Maximin stay until 2025, which is great as the player is a fabulous component. Of course, the flipside of this is that his skill has now attracted interest from bigger clubs.
Fans will be begging Saint-Maximin to stay at Newcastle
But Saint-Maximin must stay. Like Jack Grealish, he is arguably better suited at a club where he is not merely a drop in the ocean. Such is his guile, he will be wasted sitting on the bench elsewhere, and every minute on the pitch will improve him.
The star must continue at St James’ Park for a couple of more years at least, and thereby learn to become a more proficient goalscorer, and improve his final ball.
Even under the stewardship of Steve Bruce, the playmaker is improving with each passing week, and should he remain fit throughout the next campaign, he’ll grow even further.
Moreover down the line, his value as a player will grow. New ownership might even be at the club in a year or so, and that fresh hierarchy could build the team around him.
Saint-Maximin gave some insight into his mindset in an interview with Sky Sports earlier in the year.
He said: The club has given me everything, the opportunity for me to show to everyone my quality in the Premier League. Sometimes when people give you something, you have to give back.
“But before I signed it, I had always said Newcastle should not be fighting against relegation every year. We have to fight for the top 10, it’s what the supporters deserve.
“Sometimes you have to think about your future, you can see Leicester winning the FA Cup, you play football to win trophies, not to fight to stay up.”
With such mentality and lofty ambitions, Newcastle must do their utmost to keep hold of their star man.
Jacque Talbot is on Twitter.