Newcastle United manager Eddie Howe claims Financial Fair Play (FFP) restrictions are forcing them to part ways with Saudi-linked forward Allan Saint-Maximin.
The 26-year-old winger is reportedly closing in on a move to Al-Ahli, who share controlling owners with the Magpies, but both parties are yet to see eye to eye on a transfer fee.
Newcastle value Saint-Maximin at €40 million, but the Saudi Pro League club have tabled a proposal worth €25m while offering the Frenchman a salary of more than €12m per year.
Saint-Maximin has previously been vocal about his desire to remain at St James’ Park and fight for a first-team berth in Howe’s squad.
However, the nimble-footed winger has been identified as a saleable asset, with the club looking to bolster their finances to fund their recruitment plans.
Saint-Maximin did not travel to Scotland for Newcastle’s pre-season friendly against Rangers, and Howe has confirmed the winger is in talks over a possible transfer.
Howe said (via The Times): “He’s [Saint-Maximin] in discussions regarding a move. With FFP we have to trade, otherwise, we would be stuck this summer.
“I don’t want to lose him. FFP forces it, to a degree. It looks like it will happen. Sometimes these things have to happen for the club to grow.
“We’re working within FFP guidelines which is very difficult for us. We might need to be creative, but we’re trying to look at every avenue we can to make the club stronger.
“With the competitions that we’re in, having three games a week, we need to be able to rotate the team but to be able to bring in players who are of equal standard.”
Newcastle are expected to use the proceeds from Saint-Maximin’s departure to fund a move for Leicester City forward Harvey Barnes.
The Magpies are leading the race for the England international who finished as Leicester’s top scorer last term.
However, their recent €70m splurge to sign Sandro Tonali from AC Milan means they must sell before recruiting more players.