Allan Saint-Maximin has confirmed his departure from Newcastle United in a farewell message that has been described as “the most heartfelt and emotional goodbye message by any player in Newcastle history.”
The 26-year-old forward, who joined the Magpies from French club Nice in 2019 for £16 million, scored 13 goals in 124 appearances during a four-year spell at St James’ Park.
Now, he will join Roberto Firmino, Riyad Mahrez and Edouard Mendy at Saudi Pro League side Al Ahli, who are run by the country’s Public Investment Fund.
Eddie Howe has since defended the Frenchman’s reported £30 million move to Saudi Arabia, claiming the transfer was “above board” in regards to Premier League rules.
“We are governed by the same rules that every other Premier League club is – we will, I’m sure, fit every criteria needed to make sure the deal is above aboard,” he said.
“It will be no different to any other club selling a player that they have. We have a value on his head and that value was met. I’m sure it will satisfy the Premier League rules, whoever looks at that deal.”
Saint-Maximin, meanwhile, has announced his departure from Newcastle with a message of his own.
He wrote: “4 years ago, I wore the Newcastle jersey for the first time. At that moment, I hadn’t realized that not only was I about to become a Newcastle player, but I was also about to become a Geordie.
“You might think « nice Goodbye message » but the sentiment runs deeper than any words I could say, from the very first months that I met the people of this city, I truly understood them and embraced their unwavering passion, which is why it was so important for me to give my all and if this meant to play injured or even not making statistics, I didn’t give a sh** as long as it would help my team.
“Believe me, I fell for Newcastle, I had great opportunities to leave during dark days, but that was too late I was already in love, I wanted, I needed, I had to stay for helping my team to save the club from Premier League relegation because it meant the world for me.
“Of course during those dark days some may have had their doubts, but I always believed in this club and look where we are today, it’s just so beautiful. I’m leaving Newcastle as it should always have been and that’s my greatest trophy because I was a part of it.
“A deep thank you to ALL of you, my team mates, the loyal fans, the staff, the Club, etc… I’ve seen all your messages, thank you and even though this chapter has ended, the story never stops. Newcastle is home now, I’ll continue to be your biggest supporter, I’ll watch every game and as long as the club keeps winning I’ll be the happiest man in the world… and for sure you will see me again.
“I love you, I love you sincerely, I love you like a Geordie brother. Once a Geordie, always a Geordie.”
4 years ago, I wore the Newcastle jersey for the first time. At that moment, I hadn’t realized that not only was I about to become a Newcastle player, but I was also about to become a Geordie.
You might think « nice Goodbye message » but the sentiment runs deeper than any words… pic.twitter.com/wA0RsQfEZF
— Allan Saint-Maximin (@asaintmaximin) July 29, 2023
Here’s how fans on social media reacted to the emotional parting message.
One said: “Probably the most heartfelt and emotional goodbye message by any Newcastle United player in #NUFC history. Doesn’t get more powerful than that. We’ll love you forever, @asaintmaximin. Thank you for everything. ‘Once a Geordie, always a Geordie.'”
A second wrote: “I never wanted to see him leave, but this is a lovely goodbye message. Came to a poor #NUFC side at 22, and leaves with us in the Champions League at 26. Football is entertainment, and Allan Saint-Maximin is an entertainer. In my eyes, a legend of the club in his own way.”
A third commented: “Well, that’s a real touch of class by Allan Saint-Maximin – what a beautiful goodbye message. Think #NUFC fans will be waiting a very long time until someone gets you off your seat like he did. Genuinely think he really understood the club – you could tell in every way.”
A fourth added: “You were one of the few points of light in the darker days. You won’t be forgotten on Tyneside. Good luck Allan, thank you for everything.”
Thoughts on Saint-Maximin’s departure? Let us know in the comments.