With the long-term future of Allan Saint-Maximin at Newcastle United up in the air This is Futbol have looked at two replacements that the PIF could sign should he depart.
Last month The Daily Mail revealed that the Magpies were willing to listen to offers in the region of £50m for the Frenchman in the summer.
The 25-year-old has become somewhat of a cult hero on Tyneside since his £20m arrival from Nice in 2019 and his pace and trickery has led to former Newcastle and England midfielder Rob Lee describing him as ‘unplayable’.
However, his comments on his teammates last week may have left a sour taste in the mouths of Newcastle supporters but nonetheless, he will need replacing if he is to move on.
Should Newcastle sell Saint-Maximin?
During the first half of the season prior to Newcastle United’s takeover by PIF and then the subsequent £90 million-plus spending spree during the January transfer window, Saint-Maximin was the Magpies’ talisman and keeping them just within touching distance of the teams outside of the bottom three.
He currently ranks as the Magpies’ second-best performer in the top flight, and no team-mate comes close to his six man-of-the-match awards (WhoScored) but below we will look at two men who could fill the void.
The Daily Mail, last month, announced that Newcastle had complied reports on Bayer Leverkusen’s former PSG winger Moussa Diaby as a possible alternative to their current no.10.
The Frenchman has scored 23 goals and weighed in with 30 assists in 91 appearances in Germany’s top flight and has risen to prominence this season with his most prolific campaign to date netting 18 times and providing 15 assists in 41 matches in all competitions.
His output has proved equally as good from both wings this term and right from the start of the campaign he has caught the eye being hailed as “unstoppable” after scoring one goal and setting up another against Borussia Monchengladbach and subsequently received his first senior international call-up.
His contract at Die Werkeself isn’t up until 2025 so it will take a lump sum to prise the attacker who has operated on the left like Saint-Maximin for most of his career and having consistently produced, season after season in France and in Germany his goalscoring prowess as a winger makes him a real menace for defenders and he could be a shoo-in for his compatriot should he arrive in the north-east.
Although Leandro Trossard and Nottingham Forest’s Brennan Johnson have been linked with a move to St. James’ Park, acquiring Arsenal’s failed signing of Pepe could provide the winger with a platform to revive his career.
The Ivorian has struggled to live up to his £72m fee in north London but many would.
His criticism hasn’t always been warranted and a rumoured fee of £25m could take the shackles off the 26-year-old on Tyneside.
In a recent interview with Football Insider, Ex-Leeds United forward Noel Whelan claimed that a move for the Gunners attacker would be something of a risk but said “a loan move may be something that Newcastle might fancy” and indeed that could be explored.
Predominantly deployed on the right-wing opposite that of Saint-Maximin, the £27m-rated winger wouldn’t serve as a direct replacement but with Ryan Fraser already in the squad, the £50m fee received for the Frenchman could be better spent on the right where the sub-standard Miguel Almiron and Jacob Murphy have occupied.
Pepe has scored 16 goals and provided eight assists in the Premier League but a switch to Newcastle could see him return to the heights he set in Lille and with 0.58 goals per 90 minutes over the past year he ranks significantly higher than ASM’s output of 0.16.
Saint-Maximin is perhaps the only player at Newcastle, from before the takeover, that you would say would still make the starting XI despite signing a whole new team but it appears as if PIF would like to cash in on one of their most valuable assets with the hope of reinvesting in the squad and he will need replacing.