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Eddie Howe confirms Harvey Barnes arrival, defends Saint-Maximin sale amid backlash

Turns out the Premier League don’t rate ASM.

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Manchester City v Newcastle United - Premier League Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images

Several Premier League clubs have expressed their concerns to the league board regarding the proposed transfer of Allan Saint-Maximin from Newcastle United to Al Ahli, a team in the Saudi Pro League, as reported by David Ornstein of The Athletic.

The deal, reportedly worth £30 million, is drawing attention due to both teams being under the same majority ownership of Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF).

After they took over Newcastle in October of 20121, PIF owns 80 percent of NUFC while Amanda Staveley’s PCP Capital Partners and the Reuben family each hold a 10 percent stake.

According to Premier League regulations, all transactions above £1 million, regardless of whether they involve associated parties, are now subject to scrutiny to ensure they align with “market value.”

Once completed, though, Allan Saint-Maximin’s sale will see him join the ranks of other prominent European players making moves to the Saudi Pro League including Karim Benzema, Roberto Firmino, Edouard Mendy, Kalidou Koulibaly, and N’Golo Kante. Not to mention a certain Cristiano Ronaldo going to Saudi Arabia for a gazillion dollars last January.

More ridiculous transfers have taken place of late, which makes ASM’s potential move look a more than fairly valued one. Cue Ruben Neves making a €55 million move to Al Hilal, and Lens midfielder Seko Fofana completing a €25 million deal to Al Nassr after leaving France...

Eddie Howe confirmed the discussions for Saint-Maximin’s exit after the game against Rangers last Tuesday. Since then, the player has not joined the club for their pre-season tour in the United States.

Speaking to The Athletic on Saturday, one day before Newcastle’s debut in the Premier League Summer Series, Howe assured that the potential sale of Allan Saint-Maximin to Al Ahli will be “above board and done properly.”

When asked about whether the deal aligns with market value, Howe acknowledged that it’s challenging for him to provide a definitive answer. However, he expressed confidence that the deal would meet the Premier League’s requirements, saying that precisely valuing ASM is “difficult for me to say because I’ll have my opinion.”

Howe emphasized that Newcastle, like all other Premier League clubs, is bound by the same regulations governing transfers and will ensure that every criterion is satisfied to ensure a proper and legitimate transaction.

Regarding the rumored arrival of Harvey Barnes from Leicester City for around £38 million, Howe pretty much confirmed the transfer by saying that “there’s hope that could possibly be done, but I’m loathe to go into too much detail until it’s completed.” He praised Barnes as a player he admires but acknowledged that Barnes is still under contract with Leicester.

Newcastle will kick off their United States tour by facing Aston Villa on Sunday, July 23, following that game with matchups against Chelsea and Brighton before returning to St James’ Park in August.