Al Ahli agree deal in principle to sign Allan Saint-Maximin

Al Ahli have reportedly reached an “agreement in principle” with Premier League side Newcastle United for the transfer of maverick winger Allan Saint-Maximin.

French winger Allan Saint-Maximin is edging closer to a move to Saudi Pro League side Al Ahli. That’s according to a report from RMC Sport, which claims Newcastle and Al Ahli have reached an agreement in principle over a €25 million plus add-ons deal to transfer the trickster.

The 26-year-old, who is being offered a lucrative salary of more than €12 million a year to make the move, must now make a call on whether or not to accept the offer on the table from Al Ahli and is leaning towards doing so.

This comes after manager Eddie Howe confirmed last night that the player is in talks to leave St. James’ Park this summer after playing no part in Tuesday’s 2-1 win at Rangers.

The reports surfaced just hours before the kickoff at Ibrox Stadium that the winger had not travelled with the squad following interest from Saudi Pro League giants Al Ahli. A few hours on, the Newcastle boss has confirmed that he is in talks over a move and is set to miss the club’s pre-season tour of the United States.

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Since the Saudi-backed takeover of Newcastle was completed in November 2021, the Magpies have spent over £300 million on new signings, recruiting the likes of Bruno Guimaraes, Alexander Isak, Anthony Gordon, and more recently Sandro Tonali for fees in excess of £40 million.

Newcastle United are believed to be looking at ways to improve Howe’s squad further with Champions League football on the horizon. However, player sales are needed, with Howe operating with “a very strict budget” this summer. And it seems fans favourite Saint-Maximin could be sacrificed, being one of the very saleable assets in the squad that could draw a sizeable fee.

Despite being a mesmerising watch on the pitch and a breath of fresh air during the toxic days under previous ownership, the French dribbler has scored just 13 goals and provided 21 assists in 124 appearances for Newcastle across all competitions since joining the club from Nice in 2019.

Add to that his consistent injury problems and Newcastle’s strong interest in Leicester City’s prolific left-winger Harvey Barnes, and Saint-Maximin has emerged as the standout candidate to depart St. James’ Park.

The Frenchman could join former Chelsea stopper Edouard Mendy and ex-Liverpool star Roberto Firmino at Al Ahli, with the Saudi Arabian side also closing in on a deal for Manchester City winger Riyad Mahrez. Should Saint-Maximin leave for Al Ahli and Newcastle receive a decent enough upfront fee, that would loosen the financial fair play shackles and give the Magpies much greater freedom to recruit this summer.

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