Signing Allan Saint-Maximin is the “biggest gamble” taken by Mike Ashley at Newcastle United summer, according to Chronicle journalist Mark Douglas.
The French winger was brought in from OGC Nice for an initial fee of around £16.5 million, as reported by Sky, but Douglas believes that his inconsistency could be a real risk for the Magpies.
Writing in a piece for the Chronicle, he said: “Allan Saint-Maximin, a wildcard signing from France, was compared to Ravel Morrison by one French journalist before last weekend’s St Etienne friendly.
“At 16 he was compared to the very best and France dreamed of their own Lionel Messi but the years since have been inconsistent.
“The hope is the indulgence of the locals, who love their mercurial French schemers, and good work on the training ground will right the problems that persuaded Patrick Vieira to sell him.
“That is the biggest gamble of the summer – even more than re-signing Andy Carroll, who returns to adulation but with genuine concerns over a serious ankle injury and his fitness record.”
You can see where Douglas is coming from on this one. Saint-Maximin has the potential to be very, very special, and on the face of it, he is exactly the kind of player that the Toon faithful adore. Last year, the wide man averaged 4.2 successful dribbles, 2.2 shots on goal, and 1.7 key passes per match in Ligue 1, as per Whoscored, but there is a reason that he has been allowed to leave France, and other stats, such as his pass completion rate of 76% or his average of just 0.7 successful crosses per match are a little more worrying. Clearly, he has it in his locker to be the Magpies’ talismanic attacking force this term, but equally, if he indulges himself in some of the frivolous lapses in concentration that have plighted his game in the past, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see his head go down and fans getting on his back.