The French duo are similar in many respects, being electric talents with incredible dribbling and explosive ability, and it seems they were on the same page when it came to Saint-Maximin swapping Nice for Newcastle.
Here’s what the new NUFC no.10 has revealed after speaking to Hatem Ben Arfa prior to his move to Newcastle:
“Hatem spoke to me.
“He said to me ‘It’s amazing – the supporters and atmosphere are amazing’. He told me to come. He said to me a lot of good things. For this I want to do.”
The 22-year-old then spoke about Ben Arfa himself, suggesting the ex-Lyon star – who is currently a free agent – is one of his favourite players:
“For dribbling, I love Hatem so much,”
“I love a lot of players, but, for me, it’s Ben Arfa. He scored a lot of good goals. He had an injury one time, and maybe this was a bit difficult for him, but everybody knows he’s a great player.”
Saint-Maximin then revealed that he’d spoken to several players about a potential move to Tyneside, and it seems he was only told good things:
“I talked with a lot of players. They said to me it’s a great club, a great city and the supporters are great. Everything is great.
“This is why I came. I said ‘I know I want to be there’. Everybody told me (to join).
“Some players in Arsenal said to me ‘it’s a great stadium with a lot of people’.”
Finally, he shares what former Arsenal legend and current Nice manager (his ex-boss) Patrick Vieira told him about Newcastle United in the build up to his move to Tyneside:
“I talked with Patrick,”
“He said to me he played his second professional game away against Newcastle. He talked to me about the supporters and the stadium. He said to me that it’s a really, really good club for me. It’s what I want to do this season.
“I know what the supporters want. They want me to run. It’s what I want to do. I want to run, I want to fight. I just want to show what I can do.”