Newcastle winger Allan Saint-Maximin is in discussions with Saudi Pro League side Al-Ahli over a proposed move to the club.
The 26-year-old was not included in the Newcastle squad for Tuesday’s 2-1 pre-season friendly victory over Rangers, with manager Eddie Howe confirming he was in talks with another team.
Al-Ahli are one of four Saudi Arabian sides that the country’s Public Investment Fund, who also own Newcastle United, control a 75 per cent stake in.
If Al-Ahli were a UEFA-affiliated club, the potential transfer would be blocked due to new multi-club ownership rules introduced earlier this month
Howe says Newcastle are reluctant to lose Saint-Maximin but claims their need to sell is due to Financial Fair Play regulations.
“Allan is in discussions regarding a move to another club,” Howe said following Newcastle’s victory over Rangers. “Nothing is confirmed, nothing is done. But that’s why he wasn’t here today. With Financial Fair Play you have to trade, for us we were stuck in a position where we could not trade players the other way.
“That’s how FFP works. We understand that. Maxi is a top player and we definitely don’t want to lose him we want to strengthen the group. Sometimes these things happen and we have to accept that.”
“It’s early to speak of Maxi in the past tense. Certainly our respect for him is the same as the supporters, so if we do lose him it will be a difficult moment for us.”
Newcastle travel to the United States on Wednesday for their pre-season tour and Saint-Maximin is not expected to travel with his teammates to the U.S. tomorrow.