EDDIE HOWE insists his hands were tied after confirming maverick winger Allan Saint-Maximin is close to sealing a £40million move to Saudi Arabia.
Al Ahli – controlled by the Saudi Public Investment Fund that owns Toon – made their move with Magpies boss Howe admitting they HAVE to sell.
The Magpies face losing fans’ Allan Saint-Maximin to Saudi club Al AhliRex
He said: “We have to trade otherwise we would be stuck in a position where we couldn’t recruit.
“Financial Fair Play forces that to a degree.
“We definitely don’t want to lose him but sometimes these things happen.
“We could make a stance to not sell Maxi but then we’d be in a position where we wouldn’t be able to recruit Sandro Tonali or any other player, so our hands would have been tied.
“We knew this summer we would have to sell a player to trade.”
The French winger, 26, joined Newcastle from Nice in 2019 and was key in keeping them in the Prem before the Saudi takeover in 2021.
Asked if they will miss his X-Factor in the Champions League, Howe added: “For sure. Allan is unique and I’ll never coach anyone like him again.
“He can do things nobody else can.
“He gives us a totally different dimension and something we don’t want to lose, but we have to face that.
“When I spoke to him on Monday there was a lot of emotion between us.”