Starting with ASM, The Mail’s Craig Hope fueld speculation around the Frenchman’s current ‘£36k-a-week deal’, highlighting how he’s been left ‘frustrated’ that new terms haven’t been offered given fringe players who rarely play are currently receiving more.
As for Almiron, his agent didn’t do a great deal to play down yesterday’s links with Atletico Madrid, confirming their interest (despite saying no ‘official’ approach had been made) and suggesting the Paraguayan also had a release clause in his current contract.
When asked about the pair in his press conference today, here’s what Bruce had to say – insisting he wants to build on what he’s got, not sell his best players:
“Even with a result we’ve got, there’s still a negative story! That’s what happens at Newcastle.
“He (ASM) is doing his talking on the pitch and has a 6-year deal.
“There’s always going to be speculation at Newcastle. It means they’re performing on the pitch.
“I see Almiron’s been linked with another club too.
“That means they’re performing for us.”
“”Our job is to keep our best players so we don’t want to be losing them, that’s for sure,”
“We want to build around them and that’s got to be the way forward.”
The gaffer has had a run-in with Hope earlier on in the season, also regarding Saint-Maximin, when he claimed that the skilful winger had been involved in a “bust-up” with the boss in training.
These claims were strongly refuted by Bruce at the time and the manager was once again hostile towards another negative media report – and I don’t blame him when both parties appeared to play down any talk of a rift!
It should be noted that the Daily Mail article that emerged last night seemed speculative, with phrases such as “it is likely” and “it is hoped” being a persistent theme in the piece. Not only that, everyone realises that the club is in limbo right now, so a new deal for Saint-Maximin is just one of many things we’ll almost certainly address once this tedious takeover saga is sorted one way or another.
Allan Saint-Maximin has done nothing to suggest he is unsettled on Tyneside, in fact quite the opposite.
Miggy Almiron is also another player who seems happy to pull on the black-and-white shirt and run his socks with a smile. Not only that, in all seriousness, is he really good enough to play for La Liga giants Atletico Madrid?
We should take Bruce’s side again on this one and hope that this is speculation that’s been blown out of proportion ever so slightly by attention seeking agents.