Yet, the quality of the Romanian international has never been in doubt. His breakthrough Bundesliga campaign in 2013/14, complete with seven goals and nine assists, hinted that Maxim could become one of the league’s most thrilling attacking midfielders.
That he failed to fulfil such expectations, and now finds himself in the second division, is down to a different reason entirely.
“Look at Maxim in Stuttgart. I have friends there who tell me he has no chance to play consistently,” Neubert told Pro Sport. “He’s by far the most talented. He’s fantastic at set pieces, at corners, free kicks in training.
“But if you do not do what the coach says, even for five minutes, you’re out!”
‘Out’ is exactly where Maxim finds himself. Out in the cold, out of the first-team picture. Despite assisting five goals in eight league starts this season, the 26-year-old has only featured once in 2017 after being frozen out by coach Hannes Wolf for disciplinary issues.
Why, then, would Garry Monk even consider rescuing him from his Stuttgart hell? According to Romanian publication Evenimentl Zilei, Maxim’s extortionate wage demands meant he priced himself out of a January move to Leeds despite Monk’s side lacking creative flair beyond impish Spaniard Pablo Hernandez.
Yet, the Leeds United manager has history when it comes to dealing with talented yet troubled footballers. And it doesn’t exactly bode well for Maxim’s chances of moving to England.
According to The Telegraph, Monk demanded that Jonjo Shelvey ‘wise up’ after picking up a series of needless cards, both yellow and red, that were disrupting Swansea City’s progress.
The young boss described his gifted playmaker as an ‘unbelievable talent’ but, as the on-pitch transgressions showed no signs of abating, Shelvey was eventually dropped from the side and the consequent lack of creativity or guile in his absence cost Monk his job a month before the six-time England international was shipped off to Newcastle.
No matter how talented a player is, if the attitude is not right then the relationship is doomed from the beginning. Monk learned that lesson the hard way.
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