Tue 18 Jul 2023, 17:27 · NUFC News

Allan Saint-Maximin not with NUFC squad in Glasgow

Allan Saint-Maximin not with NUFC squad in Glasgow
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Allan Saint-Maximin is not with the Newcastle United squad in Glasgow for tonight's friendly with Rangers, adding credibility to the rumours that have been swirling around the French winger for weeks now.

We've written a few stories on Maxi over the past 10 days, with interest from Saudi Arabia refusing to go away. The most recent update before this morning came on Sunday. It had a Qatari outlet and then talkSPORT naming Al Ahli of the Saudi Pro League as his likely destination.

Then, this morning, NUFC ITK "Pizza Rob" Tweeted that Saint-Maximin would not be part of Eddie Howe's travelling party for our second pre-season game of the summer and had already said a permanent goodbye to his teammates. Rob then seemed to waver, deleting the message and posting this:

However, just over an hour later Rob reaffirmed his original message, presumably having cross-referenced his source:

So that set the scene for tonight, with Newcastle supporters waiting with bated breath to see if Saint-Maximin would be in Glasgow or not. Craig Hope of The Mail was the first national journalist to break cover, a little over three hours after Rob's third Tweet on the matter:

Saint-Maximin was not in Glasgow.

Since then, multiple sources from both the local and national press have confirmed Maxi's absence, with most suggesting that it is due to interest from multiple Saudi Arabian clubs.

If a move to the Pro League comes to pass it will surely open the floodgates for further scrutiny of Newcastle's ownership by other Premier League clubs and the Premier League itself, but it's not as if the path to Saudi Arabia hasn't been well-worn this summer.

Indeed, some of the moves that have already happened should give a handy benchmark for what sort of fee we can command for the winger. £50 million for Rúben Neves with a year left on his contract, anyone? £40 million for a failing Fabinho?

Afterwards, it becomes about what NUFC does with the money. The expectation is that Harvey Barnes of Leicester City and Tino Livramento of Southampton will be the next two new faces through the door, but Maxi's fee could then free up valuable funds for our reported pursuits of a centre-back, left-back, and perhaps even another winger.

You'd trade Saint-Maximin for those four or five, wouldn't you? We certainly would, despite everything that he's done for the club over the past few years. Onwards and upwards.