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Shay Given thinks Newcastle shouldn’t have sold 26-year-old player this summer

Shay Given believes Newcastle United should have kept hold of Allan Saint-Maximin this summer.

Given has been speaking on the Monday Night Club on BBC Radio 5 Live ahead of Newcastle’s return to the Champions League tonight. 

Eddie Howe’s men face a difficult trip to the San Siro this evening as they kick off their European campaign.

The Magpies haven’t enjoyed the best start to the new season but did manage to pick up a 1-0 win over Brentford on Saturday.

Howe will now face the task of fighting on two fronts as he bids to guide Newcastle through the Champions League group stages.

And Shay Given believes Newcastle should have kept Saint-Maximin for added squad depth. 

Al-Ahli v Taawon: Saudi Pro League
Photo by Khalid Alhaj/MB Media/Getty Images

Given on Saint-Maximin

Speaking on BBC Radio 5 Live, Given was asked if Newcastle’s squad is strong enough to compete in Europe as well as the Premier League.

“Well, that’s why they strengthened in the summer and people talk about Financial Fair Play,” the former Newcastle man said.

“For example, Saint-Maximin, for me, would have been a player to try and keep hold of but they wanted [Harvey] Barnes so they had to sell him to generate the money.

“People would ask why is that because they’ve got so much power and money behind them but with FFP, everything you do is kind of magnified.

“That first game at Aston Villa, I looked at their bench, Wilson was on the bench, Harvey Barnes, Elliott Andersen, there were lots of players on the bench who maybe deserved to start that game.

“So, whereas you look back at last season and the strength in depth on the bench they didn’t have that so much.” 

Newcastle United v Arsenal FC - Premier League
NEWCASTLE, ENGLAND – MAY 7: Shay Given working as a tv pundit for Sky Sports during the Premier League match between Newcastle United and Arsenal F…

Saint-Maximin completed a switch to Saudi Arabia over the summer as he joined Al-Ahli.

The 26-year-old was a real bright spark for Newcastle during his time at St James’ Park but never seemed to be well-suited to Howe’s demands.

Indeed, the Magpies have brought in a more suitable option in Barnes and it’s still early days for the former Leicester City winger.

Of course, Saint-Maximin was an unplayable talent on his day and it would have been beneficial to keep him around as an impact player.

But Newcastle are building a squad for the long-term under Howe and it was clear that Saint-Maximin had fallen down the pecking order.

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