Steve Bruce has warned off any suitors for Newcastle winger Allan Saint-Maximin by admitting selling him would be “the last thing we want to be doing”.
After recovering from a groin injury, Saint-Maximin has featured in Newcastle’s last four games. They have won two and drawn two, showing how important his return has been. He scored the crucial goal in one of those games, against Burnley.
Thanks to his impact in his second season in the Premier League, Saint-Maximin could be attracting interest from other clubs. But he remains on a long-term contract until 2026 and Bruce wants him to go nowhere.
He said: “Look, the last thing we want to be doing is selling our best players. For Allan himself, he needs to find a consistency, as in staying well and staying fit.
“Covid hit him badly, but you can see when he’s playing and he’s playing injury-free, then he is a special, special talent, which inevitably will draw interest, of course.
“But the last thing we want to be doing is selling our better players.”
Newcastle have suffered without Saint-Maximin, who missed portions of the season due to injury and coronavirus.
When he has been available, though, he has been vital. Seven of Newcastle’s nine wins in the Premier League this season have been with the 24-year-old on the pitch.
Bruce added: “You only have to watch him once to realise that he’s a really, really, gifted, talented footballer.
“He’s got a wonderful talent, we understand that, but he’s got to find that consistency which every big player needs and of course, stay well.
“Covid struck him really badly, really, really badly. For him not to do anything for over two months – not even get above a walk, really – was difficult for everybody especially him.”
Bruce delighted with Willock
Newcastle’s next game is at home to Arsenal on Sunday. Bruce is confident that top scorer Callum Wilson will be ready to start after making three substitute appearances recently.
However, one key man they will have to do without is Joe Willock, who cannot play against his parent club.
The loanee has made a positive impression recently, with goals in each of his last three substitute appearances. There have been hints to a permanent deal and Bruce confirmed how happy he is with Willock.
Bruce said: “To get three in three coming on as a sub has got everybody talking about Joe Willock.
“He’s done very well for us as a young lad, a really young lad, and we’re delighted with him.”