Newcastle manager Steve Bruce has insisted that fan favourite winger Allan Saint-Maximin is ‘100%’ staying at the club this summer, despite speculation linking the Frenchman with a big money transfer to Everton before the end of the transfer window.
Bruce’s greater focus is on ensuring that Saint-Maximin will remain fit, having missed a lot of games last season through injury. The 24-year-old, who is under contract at St James’ Park until 2026, is an electric game-changer when at his best.
“You can never say never but absolutely, 100%, I will say that we are keeping him,” Bruce is quoted as saying by the Daily Mirror. “I said when I walked through the door two years ago, and he did too, that the supporters will enjoy watching him.
“Whether you’re a Newcastle fan or not he’s worth his admission fee alone, isn’t he? In terms of his trickery, pace and power, he’s such a natural footballer.
“He gave us that threat we saw at the back end of last season. Let’s hope we can keep him fit. He missed the best part of four and a half months last season. I think he’s only played three 90 minutes in a year, so it’s vital that we keep him fit and well because we know what he gives us.”
Newcastle are the only Premier League club yet to make a first-team signing, but the Magpies are waiting on a decision from Joe Willock about a permanent transfer to St James’ Park.
Willock’s goals from midfield in the second half of last season helped Newcastle avoid a relegation battle and the club have been keen to have him back on Tyneside this season.
90min revealed earlier this month that Newcastle have already agreed a deal with Arsenal, one that could be worth up to £25m including add-ons and therefore exceeding the initial summer budget, but Willock himself still needs to make his mind up about what he wants to do.
Arsenal are prepared to accept a loan deal with an option to buy if it helps move the process along, although Newcastle would prefer to wrap up a permanent transfer now in an effort to keep their permitted loan quota free for other players.