STEVE BRUCE reckons Allan Saint Maximin is the buy of the season – and insists there is “no chance” of him leaving.
With question marks over his attitude, the Magpies snapped up the French winger for £17million from Nice last summer.
While his tricks have bedazzled the Toon Army from the off, an end-product did not always follow.
It emerged yesterday the maverick wideman trains with his DOG, has an IQ of 145 and was expelled from school age 12, according to the Mail.
But having previously struggled with off-field problems, Saint-Maximin returned from lockdown a player reborn, picking up a hat-trick of assists in the 4-1 thrashing of Bournemouth.
And that form has seen him nominated for the player of the month.
However, such is his improvent this season, he is said to be frustrated at earning just £36k-a-week plus bonuses – far less than many who rarely play.
But asked if Newcastle might cash in this summer, Bruce snapped back: “No chance!
“When you look at the money we bought him for, he is arguably the best pound for pound signing – show me another who is better.
“With what he has produced, we have probably got the buy of the season.”
After dispatching the Cherries, the Newcastle boss said the 23-year-old can be hard to manage.
And Bruce – himself up for the manager of the month award – admitted he has lost his temper at Saint-Maximin a few times.
He added: “There have been one or two moments but he needs to be reminded of that now and again.
“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.
“I don’t know how many times I have fined him for earrings, headbands and all sorts.
“But he’s got a great enthusiasm for the game and, for me, that outweighs anything else.”
Team news for West Ham game: Sean Longstaff is a doubt after limping off against Bournemouth, while Bruce will leave it late to decide on Joelinton and skipper Jamaal Lascelles, who both have niggles.
Likely line-up (4-2-3-1): Dubravka; Manquillo, Lascelles, Fernandez, Rose; Shelvey, Hayden; Lazaro, Almiron, Saint-Maximin; Gayle.