HomeFootball NewsNewcastle United Close In On Signing Harvey Barnes

Newcastle United Close In On Signing Harvey Barnes

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The exodus of star players from Leicester City looks set to continue with Newcastle United apparently closing in on Harvey Barnes. The Magpies have been in discussions with the relegated Foxes for several weeks in an attempt to sign Barnes, but seem to have made a breakthrough, seemingly helped by Allan Saint-Maximin’s likely move to Saudi Arabia.

Barnes has been one of Leicester’s star players in recent seasons, so it is no surprise to see him following Tottenham Hotspur new-boy James Maddison in jumping ship to stay in the Premier League. West Ham had also been linked with a move for him after the sale of Declan Rice, but Newcastle appear to have won the race.

The Magpies have been relatively quiet so far this summer in the transfer market, with Sandro Tonali’s £55m arrival from AC Milan the only major arrival. Having made such progress under Eddie Howe, including qualifying for the Champions League last season, Newcastle won’t want to fall behind this summer.

Quiet Summer For Magpies

In a summer dominated by Saudi Arabian involvement in major transfers, it has also been notable that Newcastle have been much quieter than the domestic clubs also owned by the Public Investment Fund. Howe has admitted that Financial Fair Play rules have had an impact on his ability to improve his squad.

His admission came after Newcastle’s 2-1 friendly win at Rangers on Tuesday night, which Saint-Maximin missed while in negotiations with Al-Ahli. Howe doesn’t want to lose the French winger, but is realistic about the situation: “Maxi is the player that’s generating the interest,” he said. “FFP is a new dynamic which really came to the fore after my first window here when we knew it would impact us.

“Player trading is a key part of it – you can’t hit it, if you don’t trade. We’re forced to trade a player this window. If the deal didn’t go through, I’d be delighted. It would obviously impact our ability to bring any more players in, and then we potentially might have to sell another player. That’s the way that Financial Fair Play has hit us.”

On The Move

So, if Saint-Maximin does move to Saudi Arabia, that would free up Newcastle to complete their move for Barnes. For Al-Ahli his arrival would add yet more excitement to a summer that has already seen Roberto Firmino join while they look set to also sign Riyad Mahrez from Manchester City.

Barnes, meanwhile, is keen to stay in the Premier League to keep a high profile and add to his solitary England cap, while moving to St James’ Park would also give him the chance to play in the Champions League. 

Barnes had actually made his Leicester debut in the tournament back in December 2016, before establishing himself as a first team regular in 2019. He’s not looked back since, consistently standing out as a bright spark in the Leicester team, including in 2022-23 where he scored 13 times to end a deeply disappointing season as their top scorer, ahead of Maddison.

Jon Fisher
Jon Fisher
Jon has over 20 years' experience in sports journalism having worked at the Press Association, Goal and Stats Perform, covering three World Cups, an Olympics and numerous other major sporting events.

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