'We pick the best': Al Ahli sign Allan Saint-Maximin from Newcastle

French winger, 26, joins Jeddah club on a three-year contract

(FILES) Newcastle United's French midfielder Allan Saint-Maximin reacts to a decision during the English Premier League football match between Newcastle United and Wolverhampton Wanderers at St James' Park in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, north east England on April 8, 2022.  Allan Saint-Maximin has confirmed he is to leave Newcastle before an expected move to the cash-rich Saudi Pro League.  The French winger, heavily linked with a £30 million ($38. 5 million) move to Al-Ahli, posted a farewell message on his Instagram account, July 29.  (Photo by Lindsey Parnaby / AFP) / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE.  No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or 'live' services.  Online in-match use limited to 120 images.  An additional 40 images may be used in extra time.  No video emulation.  Social media in-match use limited to 120 images.  An additional 40 images may be used in extra time.  No use in betting publications, games or single club/league/player publications.   /
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Allan Saint-Maximin has become the latest high-level recruit to switch the Premier League for Saudi Arabia after joining Al Ahli on a three-year contract.

Newcastle United confirmed the 26-year-old French winger's departure on Sunday, though the size of the transfer fee was not disclosed.

“Everyone at Newcastle United thanks Allan for his contribution to the club and community and extends best wishes for the next chapter in his career,” Newcastle said in a statement.

"We pick the best, and he’s one of them," Al Ahli posted on messaging platform X, previously known as Twitter.

Saint-Maximin's arrival at the Jeddah club follows the signings of former Premier League players Roberto Firmino, Edouard Mendy and Riyad Mahrez.

Saint-Maximin was left out of Newcastle's pre-season tour of the United States, with manager Eddie Howe saying the club had to sell a player during this window due to Uefa's Financial Fair Play Regulations.

The Public Investment Fund, which is the sovereign wealth fund of Saudi Arabia, owns 75 per cent and 80 per cent of Al Ahli and Newcastle, respectively.

Saint-Maximin signed for Newcastle in 2019 from French side Nice, scoring 13 goals in 124 appearances for the Magpies, but has struggled with niggling injuries in recent seasons.

He joins a growing list of high-profile names to move to the Middle East, with Ballon d'Or winner Karim Benzema, N'Golo Kante and Ruben Neves among those following in the footsteps of Cristiano Ronaldo, who moved to Al Nassr in January.

Ahli were promoted back to the Saudi Pro League last season after winning the second-tier competition.

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Updated: August 16, 2023, 12:10 PM