Another Premier League star who is targeted by Saudi Pro League 

Another Premier League star who is targeted by Saudi Pro League 

The Saudi Pro League rose to prominence when Cristiano Ronaldo moved to Al Nassr after severing ties with Manchester United. It is fair to say that his presence in the Middle East paved the way for a number of opportunities, including an increase in the club’s social media following.

Afterwards, several Saudi Pro League clubs, particularly the “big four” – Al-Nassr, Al-Ahli, Al-Ittihad and Al-Hilal – were extremely active in the transfer market, signing a large number of players from several top European divisions, thereby enhancing the prestige of the Saudi Pro League.

Today’s emphasis would be on the players who left the Premier League for the Saudi Pro League and the repercussions of their departure.

In addition to Cristiano Ronaldo, Alex Telles, a former Manchester United fullback, has joined Al-Nassr. Telles arrived at Old Trafford with great fanfare due to his strong attacking performances with FC Porto, and he actually posed an initial threat to the club’s incumbent left back, Luke Shaw, but his performances waned and he found himself back on the bench, much to his displeasure, so it was no surprise when he was shipped out to Sevilla last season and on his return to England, he switched to Al-Nassr.

Wilfried Zaha was expected to join Al-Nassr from Crystal Palace, but the Ivorian winger chose to contract with Galatasaray in Turkey. The club is in advanced negotiations with Chelsea’s Hakim Ziyech following the Moroccan’s disappointing tenure with the club following his high-priced transfer from Ajax. Ziyech’s performance at the World Cup should have boosted his confidence, but his lack of playing time at Chelsea makes it likely that he will move to Al-Nassr before the transfer window closes.

Al-Ahli swiftly secured the services of Roberto Firmino, the playmaker forward for Liverpool, who spent eight years at Anfield and scored 111 goals in 362 matches for the Reds. In addition to Firmino, Al-Ahli also acquired Chelsea’s Edouard Mendy. Mendy’s situation at Chelsea was very intriguing, as the Senegalese goalkeeper was brought in to replace the ineffective Kepa Arrizabalaga. However, football has a way of creating new drama, as Kepa was able to reclaim his position after Mendy’s poor performances. It was unsurprising that the goalkeeper left Chelsea for Al-Ahli after putting on more poor performances for Senegal at the World Cup in Qatar, which diminished his prospects of regaining his position at Chelsea.

Al-Ahli’s offer for Manchester City’s Riyad Mahrez has been accepted, and he will soon complete a transfer for the 32-year-old Algerian. The Saudi Pro League club has also reached a personal agreement with Allan St. Maximin of Newcastle, which likely prompted the Magpies to recruit Harvey Barnes from Leicester City.

Al-Ittihad’s acquisition of Karim Benzema from Real Madrid was the second largest transaction of the Saudi Pro League transfer window, but the first Premier League player to join Al-Ittihad was the great N’Golo Kante from Chelsea. Kante will forever be a Premier League legend for his exploits with Leicester and Chelsea, but his final years with Chelsea were marred by a decline in form and injuries, and he relinquished his starting position. It will be a breath of fresh air for him to move to Al-Ittihad, and I’m confident Saudi Pro League fans will enjoy his play.

The Reds have lost James Milner, Naby Keita, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, and Jordan Henderson (the cause for this article), while signing Dominik Szoboszlai and Alex McAllister. Al-Ittihad has approached Fabinho, which would continue the massive clear out in Liverpool’s midfield. Romeo Lavia, an Arsenal target, has been designated as a replacement for Fabinho should he leave for Al-Ittihad, while Stefan Bajcetic, a promising youngster, will provide an in-house option to replace Fabinho.

Al-Hilal would have made football history if they had been able to acquire Kylian Mbappe, PSG’s wantaway generational talent, but if the tabloids are to be believed, Mbappe’s camp has rejected the unbelievable offer of 700 million euros in one year, after PSG accepted the 300 million euros offer for the forward. However, Al-Hilal was able to recruit Ruben Neves, the captain of Wolverhampton Wanderers, and Kalilou Koulibaly, an experienced center back for Chelsea.

Fulham rejected an offer from Al-Hilal for Aleksandr Mitrovic, which drove the Serbian forward insane. With Fulham’s acquisition of Raul Jimenez from Wolves, I anticipate Mitrovic’s departure, but Al-Hilal is unlikely to make another offer for his services. It will be interesting to see if Pep Guardiola and the Manchester City hierarchy will accept an offer for their diminutive maestro, Bernardo Silva, following the departure of club captain Ilkay Gundogan and the impending exit of Riyad Mahrez.

Al-Ettifaq is not one of the ‘big four’ in the Saudi Pro League, but their hiring of Steven Gerrard as manager thrust them into the spotlight. Gerrard’s first significant signing is another Liverpool captain, Jordan Henderson, whose mega lucrative salary offer of approximately 700,000 euros per week is sufficient to end his 12-year association with the club. Henderson made 492 appearances for Liverpool and performed admirably for the club, so you can’t fault a 33-year-old man for earning extra cash.

So who follows?

Thomas Partey of Arsenal has been linked to a move to the Saudi Pro League, with Al-Nassr, Al-Ahli, and Al-Khaleej keen in signing the Ghanaian defender. Mikel Arteta has made it plain that he intends to retain Partey, but the lure of Saudi money can sway any player’s decision. The Saudi Pro League aspires to be one of the top five competitions by 2030, so I anticipate many more offers to European players, including those from the Premier League.

Another Premier League star who is targeted by Saudi Pro League