If this summer is anything to go by, we can safely say the Saudi Pro League is here to stay.
The country’s Public Investment Fund now own four of the division’s clubs [Al-Ahli, Al-Hilal, Al-Ittihad and Al-Nassr] and as a result, the spending has been on another scale.
Their transfer window closes after the Premier League and most of Europe so we could still see some extraordinary deals completed after the English transfer window closes, leaving all 20 top-flight clubs exposed.
It remains to be seen if UEFA change anything to ward off the threat of Saudi Arabia, but for now, everything is the same.
When does the Saudi Pro League transfer window close?
There is some confusion over how much longer the Saudi Pro League have to sign players.
FIFA have their transfer deadline day listed as Wednesday, September 20.
Meanwhile, on the league’s website, they claim teams have until Thursday, September 7 to sign players.
But whichever one it turns out to be, those four PIF-backed clubs have longer to sign players.
In most of Europe, the transfer window slams shut on Friday, September 1, with the deadline in the UK being 11pm.
Notable Saudi Pro League transfers 2023/24
Sadio Mane [Bayern Munich] Al-Nassr
Aymeric Laporte [Manchester City] Al-Nassr
Ruben Neves [Wolverhampton Wanderers] Al-Hilal
Kalidou Kouilbaly [Chelsea] Al-Hilal
Neymar [Paris Saint-Germain] Al-Hilal
Aleksandar Mitrovic [Fulham] Al-Hilal
Roberto Firmino [Liverpool] Al-Ahli
Allan Saint-Maximin [Newcastle] Al-Ahli
Riyad Mahrez [Manchester City Al-Ahli
Karim Benzema [Real Madrid] Al-Ittihad
N’Golo Kante [Chelsea] Al-Ittihad
Fabinho [Liverpool] Al-Ittihad
Jordan Henderson [Liverpool] Al-Ettifaq
Once that date has passed, teams in the Premier League are no longer able to buy players, but clubs in Saudi Arabia will.
This is a problem for top-flight sides because they could see potential January targets or future signings head off to the Middle East.
But teams in Saudi Arabia can also take any players from the Premier League and the clubs couldn’t replace them until January 2024 at the earliest.
Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp has been the most vocal about this, especially because Mohamed Salah has been heavily linked with a move to Saudi Arabia.
If Salah were to leave Anfield after the transfer window closes, the Reds would be left in a tricky situation.
Speaking about the situation, Klopp said: “The influence of Saudi Arabia is massive at the moment.
“Pretty much the worst thing, I think, is that the transfer window in Saudi Arabia is open three weeks longer. If I am right, I heard something like that, then at least in Europe, that’s not helpful.
“UEFA or FIFA must find solutions for that. But in the end, at this moment, I don’t know exactly what will happen. It’s already influential for us, but we will have to learn to deal with it…
“Time will show.”
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