When Allan Saint-Maximin prepared himself to come on against Arsenal on Sunday, Newcastle fans immediately took notice in anticipation of their new signing.
The exciting winger came on and made an instant impact that led to little success as his efforts were in vain, with the Magpies failing to find an equaliser.
Saint-Maximin’s pace and flair are two attributes that Newcastle have been missing in recent years, and the former Nice man instantly brought that to St James’ Park as he slipped past Nacho Monreal and fired in a wicked cross with his first contribution.
Despite the obvious danger that he brings for opposition teams, the 22-year-old has always struggled to consistently score or provide goals, with plenty of his contributions rarely ending in a goal.
Former Magpies’ man Chris Waddle picked up on that and warned Newcastle fans to prepare for a “hit and miss” campaign from the Frenchman.
“You don’t know what you were going to get. On his day he’s great and then the week after you’ll want to get him off the pitch. Fans love that here in Newcastle. He didn’t have that much of an impact today and I think he will be a bit hit and miss this season but you can see the fans are going to love him,” said Waddle on BBC Radio 5 Live, as quoted by the BBC on their live blog (11/08 16:03 pm).
Waddle is spot on with his verdict on Saint-Maximin that fans will love him even if he does struggle to convert his chances. The Newcastle faithful took to their new signing almost instantly as the winger started to reply to fans on his personal Twitter account – something that was backed up by their reactions to one of his tweets, with a fan even calling him a “class act.”
However, they clearly have to be wary of being too head over heels for him as he may end up letting them down on the pitch.
Last season at Lille, Saint-Maximin only managed to score six and assist three goals in his 34 appearances, despite averaging 2.2 shots every game. The winger could have also have assisted more, having delivered 1.7 key passes on top of that [WhoScored].
His conversion rate is the main problem, with his dribbling notably his main weapon having completed 4.2 dribbles on average each game last season [WhoScored], with his ability to take on his man a frightening prospect for any defender in the Premier League.
Exciting wingers are known for their ability to square up and beat their man, but the best attackers finish off those runs with goals and assists – something Saint-Maximin must add to his game if he is to make a big impact in the North East.