John Barnes has a message for Newcastle United's Allan Saint-Maximin – and fans will love it
Allan Saint-Maximin has been warned against moving to a “big six” club.
Saint-Maximin played a big part in Newcastle United’s late-season revival after recovering from a groin injury.
The winger sparked a comeback against Burnley with a goal and an assist after coming off the bench at Turf Moor in April – and that 2-1 win gave the team the belief they needed going into the final two months of the season.
Saint-Maximin, signed two years ago from Nice in a £16.5million, has been linked with a move away from St James’s Park this summer.
However, former Newcastle midfielder John Barnes believes the 24-year-old, under contract until 2026, is at the right club – as he wouldn’t get the freedom he enjoys at United if he moved to a top-six team.
"He’s been fantastic for Newcastle,” Barnes told BettingOdds.com. “He’s been incredible for Newcastle. His return from injury really helped them at the back end of the season, and got them out of a bad situation.
“I’m pleased for the fans, and I’m pleased for Steve Bruce, because under difficult circumstances when the harmony wasn’t right because of the relationship the fans have with the owner, I think they did well to stay up.
"There was a lot of negativity surrounding the whole situation, and they did well to come out of that, and Saint-Maximin had a big part to play in that.
“He has to choose his club, and Newcastle is the right club for him, because they give him the ball and say ‘do what you want’, and he won’t be able to do that at a big club, he will have to play in a system.
“He can do what he wants, dribble when he wants – and they won’t criticise him. He won’t be able to do that at a bigger club, so I can’t see him going to one of the ‘big six’.”
Saint-Maximin told of his “disappointment” at last season’s relegation battle – and his eagerness to be both competing higher up the table and for trophies – in an interview last month.
"Sometimes, you have to be honest, and Newcastle don't have to be in this position, because I don't think anyone wants to fight every year to not get relegated," he told Stadium Astro.
“For me, Newcastle have the opportunity, and have everything to try to fight for the top 10 and try to win some trophies, because that's why we play football.
"We play football to win games and win trophies, so that's why a lot of the time I feel disappointed, and that's why I say sometimes you have to be honest.
“I don't want to do another season where we fight relegation.
"So I hope the club and everyone tries to do their best to have a really good team for the start of next season, and try to do everything to win trophies, because it's the most important thing."
Saint-Maximin and his team-mates are due to report back to Newcastle for the start of pre-season training early last next month.