Steve Bruce has vowed Newcastle won't sell “special talent” Allan Saint-Maximin this summer.
The French winger is Newcastle's game changer and Bruce admits he will “attract interest” in the transfer window.
But the United chief says “the last thing we want to do is sell our best players” and reckons that in a transfer market depressed by club's suffering losses from the COVID crisis, rivals won't be able to afford a massive fee of up to £50m.
Saint-Maximin has the talent to have an impact at a top eight club, but signed a lucrative deal at St James' Park in October, which ties him in until June 2026.
Bruce said: “I said he would always attract attention, attract interest.
“The last thing we want to be doing is selling our best players. The thing for Allan is he needs to find consistency. Staying well and staying fit.
“COVID hit him badly but you can see when he is playing, and playing injury free, he is a special special talent, which inevitably will draw interest, of course. The last thing we want to do is sell.
“Watch him once and you know he is a talent, a gifted footballer. He is one who gets you off your seat and there are not many of them. He scored a goal in training which was remarkable. It's a pity we don;t have any footage of it.
“We applauded him. He has a wonderful talent but needs to find the consistency which big players need and stay well. COVID hit him badly. For two months he only got up to a walk. He has only played three full 90 minutes all season.”
Bruce has warned Newcastle, like most clubs, will struggle for cash this summer adding: “We will all have to cut our cloth. There won't be millions and millions spent this summer and we are not alone in that. Clubs have been struggling.
“It is my job to batter down the door and get as much as I can. We will see what we can do.”
Bruce confirmed he's like to bring Arsenal kid Joe Willock back next season – and vowed the “super-sub” hero of Anfield last week, will be a starter if he does return.
Willock can't play against his parent club this weekend and Bruce added: “He does not like being called super-sub! If we get him next year he will be playing.
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“We're delighted for the kid. Unbelievable. The football world is talking about him. He has shown everyone what he has got. He is 21. And we have to respect Arsenal too, he is their player.
“We took him out a few games ago. He got a break, he is a young boy, and we gave him a look from the side. He came back bursting with life.
“We have to have a conversation with Arsenal. We don't even know if he is available. Until we have those conversations. I know Joe has enjoyed it here.
“I heard him talking about going down the coast. He has enjoyed the area and has been successful. For a lad 21, started eight games, got four goals. It has been a fantastic thing for him.”
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