ROMA are ready to test Newcastle United’s resolve to hold on to Allan Saint-Maximin, with the Italian club’s new boss, Jose Mourinho, having identified the Frenchman as one of his main summer targets.

Mourinho has agreed a three-year deal with Roma following his dismissal from Tottenham earlier this season, and is due to take over at the Stadio Olimpico later this summer.

He has already met members of the Serie A side’s hierarchy to discuss potential transfer deals, with Saint-Maximin regarded as a leading attacking target as Mourinho looks to remodel his new club’s forward line.

The ‘Special One’ has praised Saint-Maximin on a number of occasions in the past, and is known to have been impressed by the forward’s impact as a second-half substitute in April’s 2-2 draw at St James’ Park that proved to be one of his final matches as Tottenham manager.

Speaking back in 2019, Mourinho said: “If I speak (about players) I think that their agents will be very happy. But I like Saint-Maximin, I like his speed.”

Significantly, Roma held discussions with Saint-Maximin and his representatives when he left Nice two summers ago, but were unable to prevent the forward joining Newcastle. Two years on, and they are ready to resurrect their interest.

It remains to be seen how Newcastle would react if they were to receive a formal offer for Saint-Maximin, who has been touted as a £40m target in the Italian media.

Steve Bruce will be extremely loath to lose the 24-year-old, although he has admitted on a number of occasions in recent weeks that Saint-Maximin will inevitably attract interest this summer given the standard of his performances since returning from injury earlier this spring.

Saint-Maximin is contracted to St James’ Park to the summer of 2026, so the Magpies will be in a strong position when it comes to any possible discussions. Much could depend on the outcome of Mike Ashley’s ongoing legal battles against the Premier League, with the current owner still keen to sell up to Amanda Staveley’s Saudi Arabia-backed consortium. If he is unable to push through a deal, he could be tempted to sell Saint-Maximin while the forward’s value is high.

Bruce has decisions to make over Andy Carroll and Dwight Gayle this summer, with the former not expected to be offered a new deal when his current contract expires at the end of the season and the latter having so far resisted Newcastle’s attempts to tie him down to a new agreement.

The Magpies have been credited with a renewed interest in long-term attacking target Tammy Abraham, who has failed to establish himself as a regular starter under Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel, while Bruce expects Joelinton to continue his recent improvement next term.

Joelinton’s successful penalty in Friday night’s 4-3 defeat to Manchester City was his third goal in the last seven matches, and after a difficult start to his Newcastle career, the Brazilian has show definite signs of progress in the last couple of months.

“First of all, I think he’s coming to terms with the language,” said Bruce. “He’s coming to terms with the Premier League and playing in England. He’s far better than what he was in terms of trying to adjust to it.

“We know there’s a player in there, that’s for sure, and I’m delighted that he’s got a few goals now and looked a threat. I was very, very pleased with him (against Manchester City), and now he’s just got to be that bit more selfish.

“When Joe Willock takes the ball off him for the penalty, he’s got to add that selfishness to his game, and then we’ve got a good player in there.”