Saint-Maximin departs Newcastle to join Al-Ahli

Image Source: Getty Images/ Stu Forster

Allan Saint-Maximin has left Newcastle United and signed a contract with Al-Ahli of Saudi Arabia for an unknown sum.

The 26-year-old French attacker joins the Saudi Arabian champions this summer as their fourth signing. Additionally, they have acquired Edouard Mendy, Riyad Mahrez, and Roberto Firmino from other Premier League teams.

Saint-Maximin has agreed to a four-year contract after moving from Nice to the Magpies in 2019 and scoring 12 Premier League goals in 111 appearances. On Saturday, a day before Newcastle made the identical announcement, Saint-Maximin produced an emotional video revealing his departure from the club.

That says a lot about how the arrangement was made out of need rather than mutually desired. Those inside the club understood the Frenchman was their most marketable asset due to his evident talent and captivating personality as well as an injury history that only allowed him 12 league starts the previous season.

From the day he came until the takeover in 2021, Saint-Maximin was the team’s most promising player. His openness off the field was also appreciated by fans, whether it was through his original use of social media, contributions to the neighbourhood food bank, or funding a toy store shopping trip for neighbourhood kids.

The Public Investment Fund (PIF) of Saudi Arabia, which also owns Newcastle, manages Al-Ahli. According to reports, Saint-Maximin’s transfer cost, which has not been made public, may have been exaggerated to assist Newcastle meet Financial Fair Play requirements. This has rival Premier League teams worried, according to the reports.

However, Magpies manager Eddie Howe said that the move to Saudi Arabia “would satisfy the Premier League,” while league CEO Richard Masters maintains that the league’s standards are “strong.”

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