Steve Bruce is desperate for Newcastle United to sign a player this summer as they wait for an answer from Arsenal’s £25m midfielder Joe Willock, but one player he is convinced he can keep is Allan Saint-Maximin, who has been linked with Everton and elite clubs
Steve Bruce has insisted Allan Saint-Maximin will STAY at Newcastle this season.
The French winger has been linked with a £40m-plus switch to Everton, has been monitored by the top six, and was missing for a pre-season game with an “illness.”
But after Saint-Maximin turned in a bright second half show against Norwich, Bruce snuffed out any chance of a rival landing his star man.
That will be a big relief to Toon fans and Bruce who know that Saint-Maximin is their biggest weapon.
Asked if Newcastle were keeping Saint-Maximin, Bruce said: “You can never say never but absolutely, 100%, I will say that we are keeping him.
“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, the kid.
“He brightened up the whole day, 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.”
Saint-Maximin has missed pre-season games this summer with an unconfirmed illness but Bruce said: “ We can’t disclose illness. You don’t need to be a rocket scientist!”
Keeper Karl Darlow is one of the squad who has suffered from COVID recently.
Bruce gave an update on United’s move to sign Joe Willock for £25m and said: “We’re in dialogue with Arsenal, but we have to respect he’s their player. Until we can reach an agreement with Arsenal, and what they want, the rest is immaterial.
“I really, really hope (we can sign someone next week). We’re still hopeful we can get our main target – I’ll try my utmost to make it happen.”
Newcastle published their account for the year 2019-20 revealing a £22.5m loss and a near £400k pay rise for MD Lee Charnley.
The club said the loss was “not normal’, as lost crowd income from the pandemic hit hard.
But the wage bill soared to £121m up 20pc after player investment, and MD Charnley’s earnings rose from £267,000 to £675,000, on a par with most execs running a top flight club.
Turnover was down to £153million from £176.4million.
Goals from Matt Ritchie and a Dwight Gayle double gave Newcastle a morale-boosting friendly win against newly promoted Norwich in front of 20,139 at St James’ Park on Saturday.