New Newcastle United signing Allan Saint-Maximin has revealed what former Magpies winger Hatem Ben Arfa and ex Sunderland star Yann M’Vila told him about a move to the club.
The Frenchman arrived on Tyneside from Ligue 1 outfit Nice last week, and he has now lifted the lid on the players he went to for advice on a switch to the north east.
“There were a lot of players, like M’Vila, though he wasn’t at Newcastle, he was in Sunderland,” he said, as per the Shields Gazette. “He spoke to me. Hatem spoke to me.
“I talked with a lot of players. They said to me it’s a great club, a great city and the supporters are great. Everything is great. This is why I came. I said ‘I know I want to be there’.”
Asked what Ben Arfa told him, Saint-Maximin replied: “He said to me ‘it’s amazing – the supporters and atmosphere are amazing’. He told me to come. He said to me a lot of good things. For this I want to do.”
It certainly seems as if the Newcastle supporters played a big part in Saint-Maximin’s decision to join the Magpies. Clearly they are a selling point for the club, something that can be utilised to convince players ‘look, this is where you want to be playing your football’. Saint-Maximin’s decision to speak to people he knows who have played in the north east was a smart thing to do, and shows that, despite what you might have heard to the contrary, he has a good head on his shoulders. Newcastle is a terrifically vibrant city with extremely friendly people, and so it must be a pretty attractive destination for players coming from abroad. The fact that even a former Sunderland player like M’Vila has said good things about it probably tells you everything you need to know about the intoxicating effect of the north east. Hopefully Saint-Maximin will have a long and productive stay in the region.