Ever since he arrived from Nice for £16.5m this summer, Allan Saint-Maximin has been lighting up Newcastle’s left wing. His dazzling displays and trademark headband have rapidly made the Frenchman a cult hero on Tyneside, and his status has only improved after firing in his first goal for the Magpies in December.
Only Lionel Messi, 5.5, and Adama Traore, 5.1, have completed more dribbles per match across Europe’s top five leagues this season than Saint Maximin’s 4.8. His eye-catching style and superb close control have led to comparisons with another French winger wizard who used to maraud the channel at St James’ Park, David Ginola.
Fans on Twitter had their say as to who was the better player for Newcastle, and opinion was relatively unanimous.
GINOLA OR SAINT MAX!
Allan Saint-Maximin has completed 116 dribbles in the top flight this season, the most by a Frenchman in a Premier League campaign since David Ginola’s 131 in 1999-00. pic.twitter.com/V1QZNkq5NY
— Black & White Vision (@white_vision) July 19, 2020
For those who had witnessed Ginola in the flesh once he had made his £2.57m switch from Paris Saint-Germain, there was no question as to which player was better for Newcastle.
Ginolas home debut vs Coventry, if people were there they’d know what the correct answer is. He didn’t score but did about everything else, the buzz on the ground whenever he got the ball has never been repeated in St James since he left IMO.
— CushdelaCush (@cushdela) July 20, 2020
Though some supporters did cut Saint-Maximin some slack and suggested that with the right conditions around him, the 23-year-old could improve upon his four goals and four assists this term. However, Ginola was never prolific for Newcastle registering just seven goals and one assist during his two-year stint at St James’ Park.
Ginola also had a great end product something ASM will improve on in time. But he has been a breath of fresh air to us this season
— Bryan Crute (@busterforever) July 20, 2020
Ginola for me always got his head up and had an eye for a pass and goal ASM is good but with the right coach and players around him he could be excellent
— NUFC353 (@nufc353) July 19, 2020
For most though, Ginola’s end product was almost irrelevant; instead, they revelled in nostalgia by remembering the way he would toy with opponents and leave them watching on helplessly throughout his 67 appearances for the Magpies.
The only people who will say ASM are the ones who weren’t fortunate enough to have seen Ginola play for us.
I still think about the time he made a fool of Boro player Neil Cox right next to our own corner flag! Has anyone got footage?
Ginola was unbelievable, different level.
— ⭐️ King of Northumbria ⭐️ (@Sandancer1977) July 20, 2020
Ginola was brilliant, he made dummies out of a load of players as they went flying past him trying to take him out, you couldn’t help but love Ginola. ASM is doing all the right things to be in a similar position & be adored by the fans of this generation.
— Tony (@TonyBongeordie) July 20, 2020
At 23, Saint-Maximin is still in the early stages of his career and has a long way to go before he can replicate the influence his compatriot had on the Premier League, which may be why many supporters didn’t back him. Ginola was twice named in the PFA Team of the Season, for the 1995/96 and 1998/99 campaigns, along with winning the PFA Players’ Player of the Year award in 1998/99.
Ginola all day everyday
— ToonLifeJay (@JasonSmedley78) July 20, 2020
Ginola…. no question.
— The E Wing Paddock (@speedypete68) July 20, 2020