Newcastle United’s winger, Allan Saint-Maximin, bid farewell to the club as he embarks on a new journey with Saudi Arabian side Al-Ahli.
The French forward, 26, will join the ranks of high-profile players making the move to the Saudi Arabian champions this summer, including Riyad Mahrez, Roberto Firmino, and Edouard Mendy, all hailing from Premier League clubs. The financial details of the transfer remain undisclosed, but Saint-Maximin has signed a four-year contract with his new team.
With an emotional social media post, Saint-Maximin confirmed his departure from Newcastle, expressing gratitude for his time at the club and acknowledging the fans’ support. Al-Ahli welcomed the acquisition with enthusiasm, emphasizing that they select the best, and Saint-Maximin undoubtedly fits the bill.
Al-Ahli, being under the ownership of Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF), which also owns Newcastle United, has raised questions among rival Premier League clubs. There are concerns that Saint-Maximin’s transfer fee may have been inflated to assist Newcastle in adhering to Financial Fair Play regulations. However, both Newcastle manager Eddie Howe and the Premier League’s chief executive Richard Masters have asserted that the transfer complies with the league’s rules, reassuring other clubs about the legitimacy of the deal.
The move of Saint-Maximin appears to have been a necessary step for Newcastle United to manage their finances effectively. Last year, Newcastle’s sporting director, Dan Ashworth, emphasized the importance of being open to player sales to meet financial constraints. This summer, Eddie Howe has been able to bring in new talent, including Italy midfielder Sandro Tonali and English winger Harvey Barnes, to bolster the squad.
While Saint-Maximin’s departure marks a significant loss for Newcastle, it was a decision driven by necessity, considering the club’s financial situation. Despite his undeniable talent and impact on the pitch, injuries and inconsistent defensive contributions led to him being the most marketable asset for the club. The Frenchman’s charisma and engagement with fans also won him admiration off the field, leaving a lasting impression on the club and its supporters.
Now, as Saint-Maximin joins Al-Ahli, Newcastle will look to move forward under Eddie Howe’s leadership, making strategic decisions to build a competitive team while adhering to Financial Fair Play regulations.