Unless you follow Ligue 1 closely or even keep an eye on the Bundesliga regularly, the name Allan Saint-Maximin won’t mean a lot to you, but for a 19-year-old, the right-winger has already more experience than a lot of 22-year-olds around Europe.
Currently owned by Monaco, the youngster is on loan at Bastia for the season, where he has scored three goals and assisted teammates three times in 25 games, after spending last year on loan at Hannover 96.
With the Ligue 1 side spending over £4m on the then 17-year-old and a contract until 2020, Monaco certainly have a plan to use the player in the future, beating the likes of Arsenal to secure his services.
Speaking to France Football in this week’s edition of the magazine, the player revealed he had the opportunity to sign for Arsène Wenger’s team back in 2015 when he was still a Saint-Etienne player, but he chose to extend his deal in France instead.
He said: “Saint-Etienne promised me game time, but I was also a year off my deal coming to an end. Despite my situation, I still had a lot of big clubs, including Arsenal, who wanted me. I owed Saint-Etienne something, and I was also proud to impose myself in the club that developed me. Therefore I signed a new deal”.
However, a few months later, the player was sold to Monaco, a move he feels was always the plan at Saint-Etienne, explaining he felt like ‘merchandise’ when his club agreed to sell him.
Describing himself as preferring the freedom given by the number 10 role, ‘like Hazard or Özil’, the young forward is capable of scoring some truly fantastic goals, like this one against Caen in January.
Few players can boast turning down the likes of Juventus, Barcelona, Arsenal, AC Milan and Paris Saint-Germain by the age of 19, but Allan Saint-Maximin can.
That doesn’t mean he never wants to play for a big club, he just wants to get there when the time is right.
Unfortunately for Wenger, that wasn’t 2015.