The Saudi Pro League will continue to target players of ‘the highest level’ after spending £701million on foreign signings in the summer transfer window.
That is according to the Saudi Pro League’s director of football Michael Emenalo, who oversaw the transfer window which saw the likes of Neymar, Karim Benzema, Riyad Mahrez, Ruben Neves and Sadio Mane move to the kingdom. Portuguese icon Cristiano Ronaldo also joined Al Nassr at the start of 2023.
The significant investment into Saudi Pro League football comes after Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund became majority-owners of Al Hilal, Al Ahli, Al Nassr and Al Ittihad. PIF are also majority owners of Premier League side Newcastle United.
But an upcoming Premier League vote could prevent Newcastle from doing transfer business with the aforementioned clubs due to ownership links.
While former Chelsea technical director Emenalo expects Saudi transfer business to not be quite as aggressive during the January transfer window, the league remains focused on attracting top-quality additions from the Premier League and Europe.
“I’m hoping [the January transfer window] is not very busy, because I think the job that was done has been quite interesting and aggressive, and most of the clubs, I believe, have what they need,” Emenalo said via the Saudi Pro League media channel.
“And hopefully the attention will now turn to work within the training facilities to improve these players and to allow the time to adapt and perform.
“Now, whatever additional improvement that we need to do for any club, with time on our hands and preparation, we believe will be additions of the highest level.
“We will continue to support and to see every opportunity we have to bring more talented individuals that want to come to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia that is open for business.”