Allan Saint-Maximin reveals what Hatem Ben Arfa told him about Newcastle United
Ben Arfa was a popular figure at St James’s Park during his time on Tyneside.
And Saint-Maximin spoke to Ben Arfa before joining Newcastle from Nice in a £16.5million deal.
The 22-year-old also spoke to former Sunderland midfielder Yann M’Vila and a number of Arsenal players about the proposed move.
“There were a lot of players, like M’Vila, though he wasn’t at Newcastle, he was in Sunderland,” said Saint-Maximin. “He spoke to me. Hatem spoke to me.
“I talked with a lot of players. They said to me it’s a great club, a great city and the supporters are great. Everything is great. This is why I came. I said ‘I know I want to be there’. Everybody told me (to join). Some players in Arsenal said to me ‘it’s a great stadium with a lot of people’.”
Asked what Ben Arfa said to him, Saint-Maximin said: “He said to me ‘it’s amazing – the supporters and atmosphere are amazing’. He told me to come. He said to me a lot of good things. For this I want to do.”
Saint-Maximin – who made his debut in Saturday’s 2-1 win over Saint-Etienne – says Ben Arfa is one of his heroes.
“For dribbling, I love Hatem so much,” said Saint-Maximin. “I love a lot of players, but, for me, it’s Ben Arfa. He scored a lot of good goals. He had an injury one time, and maybe this was a bit difficult for him, but everybody knows he’s a great player.”
Nice coach Patrick Vieira recalled his first appearance at St James’s Park when he spoke to Saint-Maximin about the move.
“I talked with Patrick,” said Saint-Maximin. “He said to me he played his second professional game away against Newcastle. He talked to me about the supporters and the stadium. He said to me that it’s a really, really good club for me. It’s what I want to do this season.
“I know what the supporters want. They want me to run. It’s what I want to do. I want to run, I want to fight. I just want to show what I can do.”