Newcastle United Austria tour diary – A near-miss with transfer target Moussa Diaby, extra work for Allan Saint-Maximin
Moussa Diaby’s on tour in Austria – but not with Newcastle United.
The Bayer Leverkusen winger’s one of Eddie Howe’s primary summer targets.
And Diaby turned out in a pre-season friendly against Panathinaikos a few miles from United’s tour base near Saalfelden on Sunday evening.
The game, played in front of a small crowd in Zell am See, ended goalless.
It won’t have escaped Newcastle’s attention that 22-year-old Diaby and his team was in the area.
Dan Ashworth, Uniteds’s newly-appointed sporting director, visited the club’s base last week, but he returned to England over the weekend before Diaby took to the field at the Alois Latini Stadion.
Diaby, as it stands, is too expensive for Newcastle, who must work within the Premier League’s Profit and Sustainability rules.
And the other night is likely to be the closest Diaby gets to United this season, the two having passed like ships in the night in Austria.
The star of the show on the pitch against Mainz 05 at a sun-baked Kufstein Arena yesterday was Elliot Anderson.
Anderson, 19, came off the bench and livened things up Newcastle, who were beaten 1-0.
However, unquestionably, the biggest draw for the schoolchilden, some of them from France, at the game was Allan Saint-Maximin, who also came off the bench.
They were lining up for selfies and autographs as Saint-Maximin sat on the bench during the first half. The winger’s team-mates were more or less left alone.
Saint-Maximin didn’t make an impression on the pitch, but that didn’t matter. He was mobbed by young fans at the final whistle during a pitch invasion. They walked with him back to the stadium’s clubhouse behind one goal.
Stewards and security staff were then able to clear the pitch, and Saint-Maximin’s work wasn’t over.
Eddie Howe has worked his players hard in Austria. United’s head coach has been putting on double sessions, and there was more for Allan Saint-Maximin to do at the small stadium.
The 25-year-old soon re-emerged to do a shooting drill with Jacob Murphy as others did springs.
Certainly, Saint-Maximin’s shooting boots will be needed this season.