Newcastle winger Allan Saint-Maximin has hinted that he might jump ship and leave Newcastle if they are relegated to the Championship.
The 24-year-old has been a shining light for the Magpies during a dismal season at St James’ Park. He has enjoyed 20 starts among 21 Premier League appearances, scoring five times. And the former France Under-21 ace has been one player to get the long-suffering fans out of their seats.
The north-east outfit have won just two league games this term and sit 18th in the standings. However, they are trending in the right direction, with two draws and a victory in their past three outings.
The Saudi-backed takeover means Eddie Howe has funds that Steve Bruce could only dream of. But it is tough to get the right players through the door in the winter window.
He has already missed a few targets, with only Kieran Trippier and Chris Wood recruited in January to date. There is still time to add more players and work continues to bolster the squad.
But it will be a tough task to pull clear of the bottom three. If Howe does manage to keep them up, he will be backed to bring in some big-name stars.
But if they go down, one of their most popular players might not be there for the promotion challenge.
“I really, really love the club and I really love the supporters for everything they give to me, but you always have to make a choice about your dream and what you want to achieve,” Saint-Maximin told The Times.
“If I can achieve my dream and my goal in Newcastle, I will stay for sure, but if I cannot, you need to think too about yourself, so we will see after this season what is to happen.”
West Ham looking to snare Newcastle target
One man that Howe has targeted is Reims striker Hugo Ekitike. The 19-year-old is an exciting player who has been likened to Kylian Mbappe.
Reports earlier this month suggested the Tynesiders were close to securing a deal for the forward. However, it has been claimed that West Ham are now ‘in talks’ for the France Under-20 hitman.
The youngster seems tailor-made for English football, with pace to burn and an eye for goal. He would be an ally for Saint-Maximin in attack but looks set to move elsewhere.