Live Saudi Arabia Transfers: Latest Updates

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Saudi Arabia Transfers and news - zicoball

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Live: Saudi Arabia Transfers and News

As current Ballon d’Or holder Karim Benzema follows Cristiano Ronaldo to the Middle East, one would be wise to brace themselves for impact, especially if there’s an ageing, once-world beater at your club with miles left in the tank. 

However, it’s a project that many will turn down. Take Lionel Messi, for example. One of the best to ever do it? Definitely. Intrigued by Al Hilal? Potentially. The Saudis tabled a $400m yearly offer for Messi to follow suit and join Ronaldo and Benzema in the Saudi Pro League. Mind-bending numbers, though Inter Miami have sidestepped the Saudis and won the race for Messi’s signature. The money is there, but not everyone will be convinced.

Live: Jump straight to Saudi Arabia Transfers and Rumours below.

The Public Investment Fund (PIF) in Saudi Arabia, which owns Newcastle and LIV Golf, has announced that it will take control of the four largest teams in the Saudi Pro League. Al Nassr, Al Hilal, Al Ittihad, and Al Ahli will see 75% of each club owned by the PIF. The other 25% will be overseen by non-profit organisations. The makeup of the boards at said clubs will consist of five PIF-appointed figures and two non-profit colleagues.

Saudi’s Aim

The project’s aim is simple, as outlined by Saudi Arabia’s minister for sport, Prince Abdullah bin Turki Al-Faisal. This is a move to use the state’s wealth to attract players to the Saudi Pro League. The plan is to position itself as one of the top ten leagues in the world. Financially, the goal is to triple its market cap to £2.1bn

As it stands, competing teams in the Saudi Pro League can recruit eight foreigners per team. You’d assume those limits will be reached and shared amongst the four PIF-owned clubs in a bid to boast one of the most head-turning rosters in the sport.

They may not be able to attract too many players at the peak of their careers intent on lifting domestic European silverware – although that may change given the eye-watering sums – in the older, wiser heads, they’re recruiting names which bring fanbases, intrigue, and attention with them in tandem. 

Take Karim Benzema’s switch from Madrid, for example, to try and put this all into perspective. The £200m reported sum that he’ll recieve per year dwarfs the highest-ever contract in Europe. Lionel Messi earned £75m at Barcelona. A 35-year-old Karim Benzema has just waltzed past that figure with ease.

To keep up to date with any Saudi Arabia transfers in what is likely to be a busy summer headed by the Public Investment Fund, the information below will be updated daily. Expect trusted rumours (is that a thing?) and all of the deals signed, sealed, and delivered.

Saudi Arabia Completed Transfers

Cristiano Ronaldo: The January switch to Al Nassr will pave the way for the following crowds. The former Manchester United and Real Madrid Galactico vacated the European game, regarded as the best of his generation, alongside Lionel Messi, who may also call Saudi Arabia home once the dust settles this summer.

Benzema and Ronaldo-saudi arabia transfers -zicoball

The two former Real Madrid men are paving the way for the rest of them…

Karim Benzema: Cristiano Ronaldo is a tough act to follow, but five-time Champions League-winning Karim Benzema has so efficiently done it before. The Middle East is the pairing’s next jaunt as Benzema puts to bed a 14-year chapter in Madrid, where he scored 353 goals and lifted 24 trophies. Al Ittihad is the destination, with a cool £200m per year package, the reported sum eventually too much for the Frenchman to ignore.

N’Golo Kante: This won’t be the last departure from Chelsea this summer, but it may be the least expected. A World Cup winner with France, a Champions League, Europa League, and domestic crown at his current club, plus a Premier League champion in an underdog tale in Leicester – Kante has the type of CV that fits the emerging transfer strategy in Saudi Arabia. Al-Ittihad is the club in question; £86m per annum is the readies.

Prime Time

Saudi Arabia Transfers and news - zicoball

Ruben Neves: Wow. From Portugal, to Wolves, and on to Saudi Arabia. Ruben Neves, at 26-years-old, is the first high-profile player in his ‘prime’ to swap a career in a top-flight for Saudi Arabia this summer. Could this be the first transfer of its ilk that allows the floodgates to open? Perhaps other players will see it as a green light. Regardless of what or who happens next, this feels like a major step for the Saudi Pro League. Al Hilal’s £47m offer for Wolves’ captain has been accepted, with the move now reportedly a formality. Neves has just a year remaining on his contract in the Premier League – making the transfer fee a relatively attractive sum.

Edouard Mendy: As Kepa readies himself for a season as Chelsea’s number one under Mauricio Pochettino, Edouard Mendy is doing the Opposite. We believe Al Ahli have presented a financial package to the shot-stopper. Now the ball is in Mendy’s court. More likely to happen than not, for us.

Kalidou Koulibaly: In a move likely threatening the £20m mark, the Senegalese central defender leaves Chelsea for Al-Hilal. Koulibaly joins a cohort from Stamford Bridge who have either signed on the dotted line, or have one feet in Saudi Arabia. Kante, Ziyech, and Mendy each look ready to ply their trade out in the Middle East following the influx of new talent.

Steven Gerrard Heads to Saudi Arabia

Steven Gerrard: Steven Gerrard is the new Ettifaq FC head coach. The former Liverpool skipper is out of work following a poor stretch at Aston Villa in November. Gerrard won’t be the only familiar face in the dugouts in Saudi Arabia – Nuno Espírito Santo oversaw a Saudi Pro League win last term – finishing 35 points ahead of Gerrard’s new side. This one is a bit of a shock, in all honesty. Our guess was that a top Championship job would become available for Gerrard at some point in the near future.

Marcelo Brozovic: Inter Milan accepted a bid in excess of £20m for their Croatian midfielder. Initially, Marcelo Brozovic reportedly turned down the £18m a year offer and instead demanded close to £28m annually. It’s believed Brozovic’s ideal career path remained in Europe unless an offer too good to turn down arrives from Saudi Arabia – and it did. Al Nassr have their man. Brozovic turns his back on Serie A.

Seko Fofana: The jewel in RC Lens’ midfield was always going to attract interest. But we didn’t expect him to head away from Europe so early in his career, especially after clinching Champions League football with RC Lens. The quoted price of near £40m was one presumably always going to be accepted in France. Seko Fofana, at 28 years old, leaves after three years with the Blood and Gold. The Ivorian’s contract extension at the start of the 2022/23 season through to 2025 didn’t mean too much in the end.

Middle East-Bound Bob

Roberto Firmino: The Brazilian turns 32 in October, a spring chicken in the Middle East. However, after 12 years in Europe and a fruitful Liverpool career later, could Saudi Arabia offer a highly lucrative final destination? Real Madrid were rumoured to be interested in Firmino, a talent that attracted suitors aplenty in Europe. Florian Plettenberg of Sky Germany reported Saudi interest in January – and as much came true. Firmino and Al-Ahli – here we go.

Neymar: A move away from Paris is locked in for Neymar. Another injury-inflicted campaign saw the Brazilian make only 20 Ligue 1 appearances for PSG, as rumours circulated regarding Saudi interest. Growing increasingly out of favour in Paris and now 31-years-old, it proved the perfect storm to make such a switch. Al Hilal were interested. Al Hilal got their man – £80m the sum. It feels like a good deal for all involved, in all honesty.

Riyad Mahrez: Although seemingly a spring chicken once he receives the ball on the wing and cuts in on his trusty left foot, Riyad Mahrez is now 32-years-old and approaching a final contract to see him into his mid-thirties. The Manchester City man’s situation attracted Al-Ahli, and off he went.

Saudi Arabia Rumoured and Future Transfers

Hakim Ziyech: The Chelsea man has struggled for game time under all four of Chelsea’s managers this term. Remember, Hakim Ziyech heads into the summer with limited minutes under his belt and a failed January loan move to PSG. Al-Nassr tabled an offer that may have tempted the Moroccan the same way Al-Ittihad prised N’Golo Kante from Stamford Bridge. Yet, it’s Galatasaray who wrestled Ziyech’s signature into their grasp, albeit on loan. With two years currently remaining on his deal and Chelsea opting with fresh faces – a saudi move may be a little while down the line yet.

Luka Modric: He’s like a fine wine in the middle of that Los Blancos midfield. But, his contract is hurtling towards expiry. A ‘lucrative, almost irrefusable offer’ is reportedly in the works with the 37-year-old Croatian, who may feel like it’s the right time to vacate and cash in on what’s left of his career. Arriving in 2012, Modric has been a splendid servant for an adoring Real Madrid fanbase.

Wilfried Zaha Transfer: Palace, Paris, turkey or Saudi Arabia?

Saudi Arabia Transfers and news - zicoball

Wilfried Zaha: It’s a name with consistent links to big-money moves away from Crystal Palace. This summer, Al Nassr of Cristiano Ronaldo fame appeared next in line to turn Zaha’s head. The wide man ran his contract down at Selhurst Park, allowing him to leave on a free transfer. Reports suggested that Zaha eyed Champions League football instead, though the £15m per year flashed at him was thought may convince him otherwise. Like Riyadh Mahrez who also appears in the rumours section above, Galatasaray won the race for Zaha.

Son Heung-min: There’s limited reports on which club, but rumours are surfacing linking Son with a move to Saudi Arabia. Ange Postecoglou will have a deciding say in who goes and who stays, but that may not be enough to avoid an incoming Saudi-shaped bid.

Joao Moutinho: As Moutinho, Diego Costa and Adama Traore vacate Wolverhampton on commencement of their contracts, you can be sure Saudi clubs were on high alert. The first two, now in their thirties, are now looking for their final, sizeable pay day. Fabrizio Romano has reported that Moutinho has ‘multiple options available’ to him and discussions continue to take place. This one looks a go’er.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang: Continuing the Chelsea exodus this summer is former Arsenal captain, Aubameyang. It hasn’t quite worked out at Chelsea. But, Al Ahli and Al Shabab presented as genuine contenders for his next club. Auba turned down a move to The MLS in January, and he turned Saudi Arabia down this summer too. Marseille is the next destination – Ligue 1 here he comes.

Alexis Sanchez: The Marseille man could swap France for the Middle East if a yearly £10m can work its magic. Al Fateh looks to be in the driving seat for the Chilean’s signature after hitting 14 strikes in 32 Ligue 1 starts last term. Still got it. Inter Milan are lurking.

Sergio Ramos: Could we see Ramos trade Paris for Saudi Arabia and join his former teammates in the Middle East? At least two of the four PIF-led clubs are reportedly chasing Ramos in search of him joining their project.

Live: Saudi Arabia Transfers and News