Luke Edwards has just published a story in The Telegraph suggesting that Allan Saint-Maximin could be sold this summer, with his most likely destination being the Saudi Pro League.
Edwards reports that clubs in Saudi Arabia and Europe have shown interest in our mercurial Frenchman of late and that interest is supposed to have "firmed up" over the weekend. Saint-Maximin would apparently cost his suitors around £40 million, though the £50 million Al-Hilal paid for Wolves' Portugal international Rúben Neves may be used as a benchmark if the Premier League looks at the transfer from a "fair market value" perspective.
Newcastle have been heavily linked with Harvey Barnes of Leicester City in recent days, and the murmurs around Federico Chiesa of Juventus are beginning to gather pace now, too, so selling the 26-year-old Saint-Maximin has become a hot topic once more. Whether it's for financial fair play (FFP) reasons, as Edwards suggests, or simply because Saint-Maximin doesn't fit into Eddie Howe's long-term vision for the team, his departure does feel inevitable.
There's no doubt that the Frenchman was trying hard to adapt his game to fit what Howe wanted from him last season, but he made just 14 starts in all competitions and missed just as many games with muscle injuries. The debate about Saint-Maximin's merits has been raging again on social media since the links to Barnes and Chiesa emerged, but it is ultimately the gaffer who will make the call on the winger's future.
ASM doesn't "feel" like a Howe player to us and he's probably the only player in the squad we could sell for anywhere close to £50 million that isn't going to be a guaranteed starter next season. For that reason, these sorts of stories were always going to appear in the press this summer. Let's see if it gets resolved in the "next few days", as Edwards suggests it will.