NEWCASTLE chiefs have admitted Toon’s Saudi owners saved their summer by paying £30million for Allan Saint-Maximin.
And sporting director Dan Ashworth revealed nobody was in for the French forward… other than the Saudi club who have the same backers.
He said: “It wasn’t Allan that was targeted by us to trade. He was targeted by another club that ourselves and Allan thought was acceptable.
“Were there any other official bids? No.”
Prem rivals have questioned whether the fee for Saint-Maximin, 26, represents fair market value.
But Ashworth added: “We are absolutely convinced it is.
“There is plenty of evidence of players of a similar age, position and CV that are moving for similar amounts.”
As CEO Darren Eales then explained at a sit-down at Newcastle’s upgraded training base, that money allowed the Geordies to spend £65m on Harvey Barnes and Tino Livramento by spreading the fees over the length of their deals.
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He said: “When you sell a player you get all of the revenue at that time, whereas when you acquire a player it’s amortised over the length of the contract.”
With Toon lagging way behind rivals commercially, Eales’ biggest job is firing up revenue streams to keep up with the team’s success.
He said: “We are trying to build a plane while flying it.
“We would struggle to have a signing that was a total miss because we don’t have the resources.
“We’re looking at doubling our revenue every two years.
“We have to take advantage of the Champions League – it’s a gift that has come to us and we have to make sure we maximise it.”
Building a global fan base is top of the agenda, while Newcastle have started exploring how to expand St James’ Park.
While few inside the club expected to finish fourth last term, the pressure is ramping up on Howe to continue their forward march.Allan Saint-Maximin moved to Al-Ahli for £30million[/caption]
Eales said: “We’ve got this aspiration to be a sustainable top-six club but FFP makes it more difficult to break into that. We don’t want to blitz it and then fall away.”
One thing we don’t know is how the Saudi owners will react if there is a significant dip this term.
And Eales admitted he had to provide some perspective to them following a home draw with Crystal Palace.
He added: “They understand it’s a long term plan but football is football.
“There are moments when you have a chat and say: Look guys, when I came we lost one game in four months.
“I remember chatting with the ownership and saying this isn’t normal.
“There was disappointment that we’d drawn with Crystal Palace! We’d just set the record for the longest unbeaten streak for Newcastle United in the top flight.
“This season will be interesting for us as a club. We know it is going to be challenging.”