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May 2, 2021 at 2pm UK
NewcastleNewcastle United
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ArsenalArsenal
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Steve Bruce: 'Selling Saint-Maximin is the last thing we want to do'

:Headline: Steve Bruce: 'Selling Saint-Maximin is the last thing we want to do':
The Frenchman has brought fresh impetus to the Magpies' survival fight.
Sports Mole

Steve Bruce is determined to hang on to Newcastle’s star man Allan Saint-Maximin with his blistering run of form having alerted potential buyers to his blossoming talent.

The 24-year-old Frenchman has played in the Magpies’ last four games after recovering from a groin injury, and they have won two of them – he scored the decisive goal at Burnley on April 11 – and drawn the other two.

Saint-Maximin’s high-octane approach to his craft and the trickery he combines with it have won him fresh admirers in his second season in the Premier League, but head coach Bruce has issued a hands-off message over a man who signed a new, improved six-year deal in October last year.

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.”

Saint-Maximin’s importance to Newcastle cannot be over-stated – he has played in seven of their nine league wins this season – but has managed only 20 appearances in 33 top-flight fixtures to date through a combination of injury and the debilitating effects of coronavirus.

Bruce said: “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.”

Saint-Maximin’s most recent absence coincided with that of leading scorer Callum Wilson, although the Englishman now has three appearances as a substitute under his belt and Bruce is confident he is ready to start against Arsenal at St James’ Park on Sunday.

Loan signing Joe Willock, who has scored in each of his last three games after coming off the bench, is ineligible against his parent club.

Bruce, who has made no secret of his desire to complete a permanent deal for the midfielder, 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.”

However, the former Manchester United defender’s pursuit of Willock may not be straightforward as a result of the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the funds available to clubs this summer.

“I have to understand, and I think all our supporters will understand too, that there won’t be millions and million and millions of pounds spent this summer – but we’re not alone in that. Up and down the country, clubs have been struggling, and we’ll see what we’ve got.

“It’s my job to batter down the door and get as much as I can and see what we can do.”

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TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
CManchester CityMan City37275577294886
2Manchester UnitedMan Utd372110671422973
3Leicester CityLeicester362061065442166
4Chelsea361810855332264
5Liverpool36189963422163
6Tottenham HotspurSpurs361781163412259
7West Ham UnitedWest Ham361781156461059
8Everton36168124643356
9Arsenal361671350381255
10Leeds UnitedLeeds37166155753454
11Aston Villa36147155144749
12Wolverhampton WanderersWolves36129153549-1445
13Southampton37128174763-1644
14Crystal Palace36128164061-2144
15Burnley36109173351-1839
16Newcastle UnitedNewcastle36109174362-1939
17Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton37814153743-638
RFulham37512202651-2527
RWest Bromwich AlbionWest Brom36511203370-3726
RSheffield UnitedSheff Utd3662281962-4320
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Premier League Table
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
CManchester CityMan City37275577294886
2Manchester UnitedMan Utd372110671422973
3Leicester CityLeicester362061065442166
4Chelsea361810855332264
5Liverpool36189963422163
6Tottenham HotspurSpurs361781163412259
7West Ham UnitedWest Ham361781156461059
8Everton36168124643356
9Arsenal361671350381255
10Leeds UnitedLeeds37166155753454
11Aston Villa36147155144749
12Wolverhampton WanderersWolves36129153549-1445
13Southampton37128174763-1644
14Crystal Palace36128164061-2144
15Burnley36109173351-1839
16Newcastle UnitedNewcastle36109174362-1939
17Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton37814153743-638
RFulham37512202651-2527
RWest Bromwich AlbionWest Brom36511203370-3726
RSheffield UnitedSheff Utd3662281962-4320
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