Newcastle United are on the brink of selling Allan Saint-Maximin to Saudi Arabian club Al-Ahli for around £30 million with the French winger keen to make the move.

As revealed by Telegraph Sport last week, talks have been ongoing for several days and a deal is set to be completed imminently, with the funds set to lead to a breakthrough in Newcastle’s pursuit of Leicester City’s Harvey Barnes. The England international should be on Tyneside for a medical this week.

Saint-Maximin will not travel with the rest of the Newcastle squad for their pre-season training tour of the USA and has said his goodbyes to teammates and staff.

The impending departure of one of the most entertaining players in the Premier League and a crowd favourite on Tyneside, who was vital in keeping the team in the top flight under former manager Steve Bruce, brought an emotional tribute from Newcastle manager Eddie Howe.

Newcastle would have liked to keep the player but needed to sell someone to help them pass Financial Fairplay rules.

“It’s difficult for me to comment on what Allan wants,” Howe said after his team’s 2-1 friendly win over Rangers at Ibrox.

“I respect him immensely. I know he feels the same way as I do about the football club. There’s no issue between us.

“We have had a really healthy relationship from day one. Sometimes things have to happen for the club to grow and Allan to experience something different.

“You can’t replace him with a similar type because there is nobody like him. “I don’t think there has been an issue with work-rate.

“You say industrious. But in his way he is really committed to what we asked him to do. Last season was difficult for him, he picked up a couple of injuries so I don’t think we saw the very best from him. The Man City game was Maxi could be for us on a regular basis. Nobody is doubting his talent.”

“Allan is a unique player. I am sure I will never coach somebody like him again. I am talking about the player here, he can do things nobody else can do. “And he does give us a totally different dimension, he is somebody we don’t want to lose.”

Saint-Maximin had also been offered to clubs across Europe this summer by agents but has decided to secure a lucrative move to the revamped Saudi pro league instead.

Bournemouth look to sign Newcastle second-choice keeper

By Mike McGrath

Bournemouth are in talks over a deal for Karl Darlow to move from Newcastle United and add goalkeeping strength to Andoni Iraola’s squad for next season.

Darlow, 32, has been at St James’ Park for nine years and has attracted interest this summer from clubs including Leeds United, who are still looking at him as one of their options for the Championship.

But Bournemouth have made initial moves for a deal which would see Darlow compete with Neto for the No1 jersey under Iraola. He has two seasons left on his existing deal at Newcastle, with Nick Pope firmly established as No1 under Eddie Howe.

Darlow has been a No1 at Newcastle during nearly a decade in the north-east after arriving from Nottingham Forest in 2014. He was first-choice when they were promoted from the Championship under Rafa Benitez.

After an injury to Martin Dubravka in the 2021 season, he also stepped in and then kept his place as first-choice for a large part of the season. Last season he was loaned to Hull City in the Championship but there has been interest in the Premier League this summer.

“Karl is someone I loved working with, he’s an outstanding goalkeeper, but the price that Newcastle are speaking about is something we can’t do this summer,” said Hull boss Liam Rosenior recently.

Middlesbrough were also in the market for a goalkeeper after Zack Steffen returned to Manchester City after his loan, but they signed Senegal international Seny Dieng from Queens Park Rangers last week.