If a recent report from The Athletic is believed to be true, Newcastle United attacker Allan Saint-Maximin has emerged as a transfer target for Chelsea. But the Blues are not alone in the hunt as their London rivals Tottenham Hotspur have also made inquiries ahead of a potential summer swoop.
The 25-year-old Frenchman spent his academy years with Boulogne-Billancourt and Saint-Étienne before breaking into the latter’s senior side. He was then tied down by Monaco, but the Ligue 1 heavyweights loaned him to Hannover 96 and Bastia for regular football. The wingman appeared just twice for the Monégasques prior to joining rivals Nice in the summer of 2017.
After two decent years with the Eagles, the Magpies secured his services on a six-year contract. So far, he has made 93 appearances for them over the past three seasons and has fired in 12 goals as well as 16 assists across competitions. Although the numbers are not impressive enough, Newcastle lacked quality across the pitch as they were mostly engaged in relegation battles in recent years.
Nevertheless, Saint-Maximin has been the only shining light in their gloomy attack. He retained his place under Eddie Howe even after their winter spending spree in the aftermath of the Saudi-backed takeover. The Tynesiders will only entertain an offer of around £40m for their star forward and the Blues, keen on adding more firepower high up the pitch, are weighing up a bid as per the rumours.
Chelsea have lately gained pace in the market and new club owner Todd Boehly is conducting their recruitment drive, having roped in Raheem Sterling and Kalidou Koulibaly so far this window. They are closing in on Jules Kounde despite interest from Barcelona and the focus might be shifted to his fellow countryman once the stability is restored in the defensive third. Kounde and Koulibaly could be the upgrade for Andreas Christensen and Antonio Rudiger; however, Thomas Tuchel must also bolster the frontline due to the lack of consistency from their attacking options.
Why Chelsea Should Opt For The Frenchman
The mega-money move for Romelu Lukaku turned into a fiasco and the West Londoners are still without an experienced ‘number 9’ following the Belgian’s return to Inter Milan. Poor finishing has refrained Timo Werner, Callum Hudson-Odoi and Christian Pulisic from securing the starting status, whereas the club are yet to decide whether to sanction a transfer for young centre-forward Armando Broja. The future remains uncertain for Hakim Ziyech amid talks with AC Milan and the gaffer is yet to figure out how to get the best out of Kai Havertz.
Saint-Maximin has certain limitations in his game, particularly the decision-making in the final third. He is a great dribbler but, at the same time, needs to understand when to pass the ball to a teammate rather than keeping it for way too long. This should improve though, if surrounded by better players and Chelsea, therefore, must explore the opportunity to reshape the attack.