Newcastle United winger Allan Saint-Maximin has revealed he attracted interest during the January transfer window but adds he is ‘proud’ to still be with the club.
The Frenchman has been one of the Magpies’ most important players in recent years but has fallen down Eddie Howe’s pecking order this season, due to the good form of Miguel Almiron and Joelinton.
The arrival of Anthony Gordon from Everton also means more competition for Saint-Maximin, but he is determined to stay and fight for his place.
Since joining the Magpies in 2019, the winger has been one of the few positives for the St. James’ Park faithful as he battled through tough times during the Mike Ashley era.
Overall, in 111 appearances for Newcastle, Saint-Maximin has scored 13 goals and provided 19 assists, giving him an average of 0.29 goal contributions per game.
While this may not sound too impressive, Newcastle were in a real mess when he arrived. In his first two seasons, he played his football under Steve Bruce in a team lacking creativity.
However, the Frenchman added that in abundance, with the tricky winger characterised by his direct, pacey and skilful style. Those methods can infuriate at times, but every now and again, he is unplayable on his day.
Despite his quality, Saint-Maximin has featured just 13 times in the Premier League this season, generally being used as a substitute by Howe.
As a result, several clubs enquired about the winger in January, as revealed by Saint-Maximin to Saturday Night Football, via Sky Sports.
Saint-Maximin said: “I will be honest, I’m not going to lie, when you are in that situation a lot of teams can see it. A lot of teams see it as an opportunity to come and buy the player.
“But I am very proud to be here and the most important thing for me is to play. And I will always try to be in a position where I play every game.
“I don’t play football to be on the bench. But you know sometimes you have to understand the situation.
“As I said, when I was in the team they didn’t lose games and I did my job. When I was available the team were doing well and not losing games.
“You need to understand that. For sure, if we lose two games and I stay on the bench, I will never accept that situation.
“When the team does well though and when you love the players you cannot only be a nice guy when you play, then not very nice when you don’t.
“I am not like that. I believe a lot in God and that’s why when I didn’t play I prayed for the team because finally, we were together.
“And if we get to the Champions League – we are going there together. So that’s the most important thing.”
Indeed, the Magpies are flying at the moment, currently sitting in fourth place in the Premier League table after winning 10 of their 21 opening matches.
Their next game is a must-win against Bournemouth on Saturday, so it will be interesting to see if Saint-Maximin makes Howe’s starting XI.
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