Newcastle United are set to sell Allan Saint-Maximin to Al Ahli this summer after reportedly agreeing on a €35m transfer fee with the Saudi club.
Eddie Howe has already identified Leicester City star Harvey Barnes as the Frenchman’s replacement, with a deal believed to be close to completion.
Saint-Maximin’s pending sale will help Newcastle with FFP and arguably, Barnes is a big upgrade on him. This is despite Saint-Maximin playing a key role at St James’ Park over the last few years.
The 26-year-old was signed by Steve Bruce back in 2019. Overall, he has made 124 appearances for the Magpies, scoring 13 goals and making 21 assists in the process.
Last season, Saint-Maximin saw his playing time diminish significantly. He made just 12 starts in the Premier League after falling behind the likes of Miguel Almiron in the pecking order.
Now, it seems Newcastle are set to part ways with Saint-Maximin. This is was confirmed by transfer journalist Ben Jacobs. On Twitter, he said: “Allan Saint-Maximin has a medical booked [with Al Ahli]. Fee is around €35m.”
Howe ‘sad’ to lose Saint-Maximin; Barnes deal close
Howe said in a recent interview that he will be sad to see Saint-Maximin leave, but admitted now is the best time for him to move on.
“I don’t think Maxi necessarily wants to leave, but he may feel it’s the right time for him to move,” the Newcastle manager said.
“It’s difficult for me to speak for him, but he hasn’t asked to leave. There’s been no issue between him and any of us coaches. We all love him.
“If he does leave, we’d lose him with a very heavy heart. He’s someone we love working with, he’s a difference-maker, we’ve really had a strong working relationship, and it’ll be sad if he leaves.”
As mentioned, Howe has already identified Saint-Maximin’s replacement – Leicester’s winger Barnes.
According to a report from David Ornstein, Newcastle have already agreed a deal with the Foxes. Barnes is keen to join the Magpies and a transfer is expected to go through imminently.
“Newcastle United have reached agreement with Leicester City to sign Harvey Barnes,” Ornstein confirmed on Twitter.
“Deal for 25yo winger worth in region of £38m. Personal terms won’t be a problem. Another key target of head coach Eddie Howe landed.”
With that in mind, Newcastle are set to lose just £5m as they plan to swap Saint-Maximin for Barnes, which is a great bit of business.
Both deals are believed to be close to completion, so Toon fans should keep an eye out for official confirmation over the next couple of days.