EDDIE HOWE insists his hands are tied after confirming outsider Allan Saint-Maximin is close to sealing a £40million move to Saudi Arabia.
Al Ahli – controlled by the Saudi Public Investment Fund, which owns Toon – made his move when Magpies boss Howe admitted they MUST sell.
He said: “We have to swap, otherwise we’re stuck in a situation where we can’t recruit staff.”
“Financial fair play enforces this to a certain extent.
“We definitely don’t want to lose him, but sometimes things like that happen.”
“We could decide not to sell Maxi, but then we would be in a situation where we couldn’t recruit Sandro Tonali or any other player, so our hands would be tied.”
“We knew we had to sell a player this summer to trade him.”
The 26-year-old French winger joined Newcastle from Nice in 2019 and was instrumental in keeping them in the Premier League ahead of Saudi Arabia’s takeover in 2021.
And he is set to be replaced by Leicester’s Harvey Barnes, with Newcastle close to a deal worth around £35million.
When asked if they will miss his X-Factor in the Champions League, Howe added: “Definitely. Allan is one of a kind and I will never coach anyone like him again.”
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“He can do things no one else can.
“He gives us a completely different dimension and something we don’t want to lose but have to face.”
“When I spoke to him on Monday, there was a lot of emotion between us.”