Liam Kennedy Q&A: Newcastle United takeover status update, the Allan Saint-Maximin issue & more

Chaos and Newcastle United go hand-in-hand – and this week has been no different.

Rumours of a bust up with Allan Saint-Maximin, more selection conundrums, COVID isolation issues and yet more takeover action.

In our regular feature Toon Trending Topic, our Newcastle United writer Liam Kennedy cuts through the black and white noise to give you his take on the key issues at St James’s Park after another crazy week on Tyneside.

What’s the situation with Allan Saint-Maximin?

Chelsea's French defender Kurt Zouma (L) vies with Newcastle United's French midfielder Allan Saint-Maximin during the English Premier League football match between Newcastle United and Chelsea at St James' Park in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, north east England on November 21, 2020.

LK: “Steve Bruce has been on record stating how difficult he finds the Frenchman to manage. He’s not the first manager to bring that up, either. But it is becoming increasingly obvious there is a rift that is growing between the boss and his match-winner. The player did pick up an injury, that is in no doubt, but there was also an issue with the player being dropped. The manager will point to ASM’s lack of performances of late, the player will point to the team’s general dip and lack of clear gameplan – getting the ball would be a start. The truth is both have a point. A good manager would make sure this rift is bridged. And Bruce must do what is necessary to make sure that is the case.”

What is Newcastle’s best formation – and is Bruce getting the best out of his group?

LK: “For me I think system is irrelevant, what needs sorted is Newcastle’s style of play. Newcastle need to treasure the ball, be compact without it and free-running with it. I like four at the back, but also think three suits the defenders. The key has to be create as many chances for Callum Wilson as possible because with him firing Newcastle will climb the league.”

Where are we at the with Newcastle United takeover?

LK: "Pressure is coming at the Premier League from all angles. And it will continue. The political angle has been revisited with some outstanding work done behind the scenes from fans and politicians alike. Nick De Marco is turning the screw from Mike Ashley’s end and the net appears to be tightening on league chiefs – but I will say, we have been in this place before with talk of confidence coming from all sides.”

And what about the Newcastle Consortium Supporters Ltd legal case. Where’s that at?

LK: “I expect we will know a lot more on that case by the end of the week. The cogs are turning and as I have said on numerous occasions the aim was always for this to head to court to seek disclosure of key documents that would blow every single case being considered, or in action, out of the water. With this one, and the Ashley arbitration and any other possible action it is a case of ‘watch this space’. The next few weeks could prove some of the most crucial in Newcastle United’s history, because if this deal can be pushed through at some point in the near future this will prove life-changing for Newcastle United. With the Saudis and PCP Capital Partners at the wheel, Newcastle United will no longer be the ‘top six’ outsider blocked at the party entrance, they’ll be breaking down the front door, first at the bar and telling the DJ what to play. Certain clubs will, however, do everything in their power to make sure that doesn’t happen.”

A message from the Football Clubs Editor

Our aim is to provide you with the best, most up-to-date and most informative Newcastle United coverage 365 days a year.

This depth of NUFC coverage costs, so to help us maintain the high-quality reporting that you are used to, please consider taking out a subscription to our new sports-only package here.

Your support is much appreciated. Richard Mennear, Football Clubs Editor