Date: 8th August 2019 at 10:30am
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OPINION

As a football fan you never quite know what you’re going to get from a new signing, particularly one coming from abroad.

Yes, you can watch their highlights on YouTube and read their statistics, but perhaps the best gauge of a new recruit is the opinion of the players he has joined at his new club.

In that respect, Allan Saint-Maximin would appear to be a hugely exciting signing for Newcastle United, because captain Jamaal Lascelles was positively effusive in his praise of him recently.

“Very flair-y player, offers [something] a bit different to what we’ve been used to over the past few years,” he told The Football Daily podcast [42:00]. “He can create something out of nothing and we’ve not really had that.”

You can hear a little bit of the frustration Lascelles has with the lack of cutting edge the Magpies were guilty of under former boss Rafael Benitez, although that was something that improved over the second half of last season.

As for what the skipper said about Saint-Maximin, that will surely have the fans licking their lips. Lascelles will have seen the Frenchman in action in training, and so for him to call him a flair player, someone who can produce something out of nothing, tells you that the former Nice man is exactly what the team needed.

The statistics back up Lascelles’ assertion, as well. As per WhoScored.com, in Ligue 1 last season the 22-year-old averaged 2.2 shots per game, 1.7 key passes and 4.2 dribbles.

Yes, there are issues with giving the ball away, but that’s something Steve Bruce and co. will work on. The main thing is that this is a player who provides the Magpies will that little spark they’ve been lacking in recent years. And that’s the bottom line, because Lascelles said so!