Newcastle winger Allan Saint-Maximin has admitted his frustration towards his limited role at St James’ Park this season.
The Frenchman has suffered a handful of minor injuries this season but has largely seen his minutes reduced by manager Eddie Howe, who handed Saint-Maximin just his fifth start of the Premier League campaign in the weekend’s 1-1 draw with West Ham.
It was his first start since August, with the ever-versatile Joelinton taking Saint-Maximin’s regular place on the left wing, while the January acquisition of Anthony Gordon from Everton has only increased the threat to the 25-year-old’s position.
90min understands a number of clubs have expressed an interest in handing Saint-Maximin an escape route from Tyneside, including AC Milan and several sides from the Middle East.
Asked about his future after playing 70 minutes against West Ham, Saint-Maximin admitted he wants more game time but insisted he remains happy working under Howe at Newcastle.
“I want to be honest because I’m not going to lie. When you are in the situation, a lot of teams can see that and think it’s the right opportunity to come and buy the player,” he said. “But I’m very proud to be here, and the most important thing for me is to play.
“The manager’s choice makes sense because I got an injury. I didn’t lose any game when I was on the pitch [at the start of the season], and this is something very, very important for me. The coach knows that. That’s why I have a very good relationship with him, because he knows what I’m capable of.
“But when I came back from injury, the team was winning a lot of games, so they have a lot of credit to keep going. When the team did so well and especially when you love the players you cannot be like, okay when you play you are very nice guys and when you start to not play you just try to [make things difficult], I’m not like that.
“Even when I didn’t play, I pray for the team because finally we are together and if we manage to reach the Champions League we’re going to do it together and that’s the most important thing for all of us.”
Howe has recently stressed his determination to keep Saint-Maximin around although sources have confirmed to 90min that Newcastle remain open to offers for the fast-footed Frenchman.