Allan Saint-Maximin has been hailed the best pound-for-pound signing of the season – and won’t be sold.
Steve Bruce admits he’s lost his temper with, and fined, the French winger several times this season since his arrival for £16m from Nice.
The Toon chief says he came with a reputation of being “difficult” but has proved a big hit by “loving the ball” and “doing things no one else in he Premier League can do.”
Saint-Maximin grabbed a hat-trick of assists against Bournemouth in midweek, and Bruce reckons he loves being a star on Tyneside.
Bruce said: “At the level of money we bought him for he is the best pound for pound signing in the Premier League. Tell me another one like that?
“We have probably got the buy of the season.”
ASM signed a six year deal last August, and Bruce said: “There’s no chance (of him leaving).
“He’s only been here a short period of time. Every player in the world has a price. He and Miguel Almiron are performing, and they are linked with transfers. They have got to stay at this level and keep performing.”
Bruce says Saint-Maximin, who faces West Ham on Sunday, likes to be loved.
He added: “When you get yourself a bit of a reputation, which Allan seemed to have, then of course it’s going to test your managerial skills. That’s what it’s all about.
“The great thing about Allan is, if you follow him on Instagram, he’s always playing football.
“Dribbling against his mates in his garden, or his dog or whatever, he’s got a genuine love for the game and he enjoys the ball.
“He’s got a great enthusiasm for the game of football and that outweighs anything else.
“I don’t know how many times I have fined him for earrings and headbands and all sorts, but he’s coming to terms with it with his performances.
Almiron has been touted for a switch to Atletico Madrid – by his agent Daniel Campos.
The 26-year-old has netted six goals since January, but he took 11 months to get his first goal after joining from Altanta in the MLS.
His agent Daniel Campos said: “We are in contact with the people of Atletico Madrid, with the director but nothing official.
“Even before his departure from Newcastle, he was already under the radar at the club. We have to see if Newcastle United wants to negotiate a departure. Miguel’s release clause is high.
“Miguel is a player that fits perfectly in Diego Simeone’s system.”
Bruce said this afternoon: “We don’t want to lose our best players. We want to keep them. We want to build around them.
“Everyone has a price, but we want to keep them.”