Before his move to Newcastle United in 2019, Allan Saint-Maximin had already enjoyed a rather nomadic career, coming through at AS Saint-Etienne before heading to Monaco for £4.5m, which led to two loans with Hannover 96 and SC Bastia.
Following his breakthrough with the Corsican club, the winger was sold to OGC Nice for double the initial purchase amount, where he flourished some more and earned himself his move to the Premier League, where the Magpies spent £16.2m on him.
Since then, the forward has made 60 appearances, scored eight goals and assisted another 12, most recently finding the back of the net in a 2-2 draw against Southampton.
Many talents have come through the Saint-Etienne academy over the years, most overseen by Gilles Rodriguez, who recently stepped down from his youth academy role after 30 years in the job.
Jonathan Bamba, Faouzi Ghoulam, Bafetimbi Gomis and Allan Saint-Maximin are all products of his work, but it’s the latter whose early exit never really sat right with him.
Speaking to But! Football Club, he said: “Over the past 7-8 years, there’s especially one (regret): Allan Saint-Maximin. He was the most talented. Allan has a huge talent. What he was lacking to impact the club more was the mental side. He left too soon. It’s a shame for ASSE. If the boy could have had five or six seasons with us with the right frame of mind, he would have been extraordinary.
“Today, he’s at Newcastle and you can say he’s still doing well in his career. Personally, I’m a bit more reserved. Looking at his extraordinary talent and his age today (24), Saint-Maximin should have played in a much more renowned club. Newcastle, that’s still something, but it’s just my opinion…”