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Newcastle United fans are sad to see one of their more recent cult heroes – Allan Saint-Maximin – being sold, with a likely destination being Saudi Arabia.
Saint-Maximin has become somewhat of an icon to the Toon Army faithful since he joined the Magpies back on August 2, 2019 from French club, Nice. Since then, he has made 111 appearances for the club, scoring 11 goals.
But it wasn't the goals that helped him warm up to the Geordies, with his electric pace, and his dribbling skills making him more attractive on the eye than other players who have played at ST James Park over the years.
Time right to sell Saint-Maximin?
With Newcastle United adding Champions League football to their calendar this season, some fans feel it is the right time to sell the tricky, entertaining winger, feeling that they need to bring in a new era of players, meaning some of their favourites have to leave St James' Park.
But many will see Saint-Maximin as the shining light through some disappointing seasons in the Premier League when the only thing they had to look forward to was a relegation battle.
Allan Saint-Maximin was our ray of light during pretty dark days at SJP. Our source of excitement on the pitch when there was no hope off it.
If he has played his last game for #NUFC, I'll be sad to see him go but so thankful for what he gave us.
— NUFCblog.co.uk (@NUFCblogcouk) July 18, 2023
His direct style was refreshing for the fans, who love to adore an attacking player who excites, even if he didn't always produce an end product. Newcastle fans seem to be disappointed that he is leaving, however, it more to do with his eccentric character than maybe what he did on the pitch.
Most, who are happy to say thank you to a player that showed passion and desire in the black and white striped jersey, realise that he can be replaced with a better model, with Harvey Barnes of recently relegated Leicester City, looking to become a ready-made replacement for the Frenchman.
On the Saint-Maximin debate. You can have all the skills in the world but if you don't know when to pass, when to shoot, track back, etc, it's almost pointless. Is he more gifted than Harvey Barnes? Yes. Is he a better player? No. Why? Decision making. Plain and simple #NUFC
— Rob Lee (@fscollector1985) July 19, 2023
But Newcastle fans are some of the most passionate in the world, and when a player puts 100% into playing for the club, and does his best to create a connection with those fans, they appreciate them, even if they didn't bring them that holy grail of a major trophy, something the club and their fans have been crying out for.
Saint-Maximin nearly did it when he helped Newcastle get to the Carabao Cup final but lost out in the final to Manchester United, meaning he leaves the club with only a runners-up medal. However, he will bring away more than that from his stay in the Northeast.
On his day Saint-Maximin can tear any team apart, gonna miss this 😭
Appreciate everything ASM has done for us, he made Newcastle worth watching during the Ashley days.. every time he got the ball.. he entertained
Thank you Allan Saint-Maximin 🖤🤍 pic.twitter.com/p45sAzqhke
— Marshall89HD (@Marshall89HD) July 20, 2023
With a likely move to Saudi Arabian club Al Hilal, Saint-Maximin will be forever remembered as a player the fans could get excited about during the grim days of Steve Bruce and Mike Ashley, when most had to drag themselves to St James Park to reluctantly watch their team try survive in a league that they felt they were good enough to compete in, for a higher placed position.
🇫🇷Allan Saint-Maximin was #NUFC‘s headbanded beacon of light during dark times under Steve Bruce and Mike Ashley.
For me, he's a player that will be remembered for all the right reasons.
Sad to see him go, but the timing is right for all parties.https://t.co/tN9TDCm3Ug
— Dominic Scurr (@DomScurr) July 20, 2023
The phrase, ‘Bitter-Sweet' has been used by fans to describe the situation, with one Newcastle fan, @Paul_NUFC83, tweeting this.
Allan Saint-Maximin – I love him. When he was on he was unplayable. Watching him tear City up last season was a joy to behold. I’m sad he is leaving, happy he came, goes with nothing but my best wishes. pic.twitter.com/gAtocOKLPL
— Paul (@Paul_NUFC83) July 20, 2023