Newcastle United reach ‘verbal agreement’ over £26m transfer as medical takes place

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Allan Saint-Maximin is close to leaving Newcastle United after agreeing to move to Saudi Arabia.

Newcastle United have reached a verbal agreement with Al Ahli for the sale of Allan Saint-Maximin.

The Frenchman first entered talks with the Saudi Pro League club last week and as a result missed Tuesday’s 2-1 win at Rangers and the flight to the United States a day later. With Harvey Barnes’ £38million arrival from Leicester City confirmed on Sunday, Saint-Maximin’s exit could be just days away.

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As per transfer expert Fabrizio Romano, the 26-year-old has passed the first part of his medical and agreed a three-year contract. He’ll become teammates with former Premier League stars Edouard Mendy, Roberto Firmino and Riyad Mahrez.

Magpies’ head coach Eddie Howe decided to reluctantly cash in on Saint-Maximin as a way of raising further funds to strengthen his squad. Newcastle are under Financial Fair Play restrictions and the £26m from the winger’s departure will go towards signing Barnes and at least one more.

“I wouldn’t say it’s forced but Financial Fair Play forces that to a degree,” Howe said last week. “We could make a stance not to sell Maxi but we’d put ourselves in a position where we wouldn’t be able to sell Sandro or any other player so our hands would have been tied.

“We knew this summer the likelihood is that we would have to trade a player and [Saint-Maximin] leaving is what looks like will happen but until it does we don’t know.”

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United remain interested in Southampton defender Tino Livramento but a fee is yet to be agreed.

Saint-Maximin’s departure after four years at St James’ Park is tinged with a little sadness. His efforts during the days of battling relegation under Steve Bruce are fondly remembered but his importance since Howe’s arrival in November 2021 has gradually wavered.

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