Saudi Pro League Eyeing Stars: De Bruyne, Salah

According to ESPN sources, Saudi Pro League (SPL) clubs have their sights set on several Premier League talents in anticipation of the upcoming summer transfer window.

Among the targeted players for the next season are established stars including Kevin De Bruyne, Mohamed Salah, Virgil van Dijk, Alisson, Raphaël Varane, Casemiro, Bruno Fernandes, Bernardo Silva, and Andreas Pereira.

Additionally, there’s a concerted effort to secure promising young talents, with Juventus’ 20-year-old forward Matìas Soulè being a prime target.

While sources in Saudi Arabia don’t anticipate SPL teams matching the record-breaking £757 million ($957m) spent in 2023, they emphasize that this summer’s transfer approach will remain assertive.

During the summer transfer window of 2023, SPL teams were the second-biggest spenders — trailing only behind the Premier League’s staggering £1.1 billion ($1.39bn) expenditure.

According to sources cited by ESPN, Al Ahli is actively seeking a striker, while Cristiano Ronaldo’s Al Nassr is eager to bolster their squad with a goalkeeper. Additionally, Al Ittihad is on the hunt for a center-back and a central midfielder to strengthen their ranks.

At the summit of the SPL table sits Al Hilal, who made headlines by acquiring Neymar from PSG the previous summer, boasting a comfortable seven-point lead over Al Nassr.

It’s worth noting that Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth Public Investment Fund (PIF) holds controlling stakes in Al Ittihad, Al Ahli, Al Nassr, and Al Hilal.

As per ESPN sources, Al Qadisiyah is anticipated to make substantial investments in the upcoming summer should they secure promotion to the SPL. Currently leading the second division, the club is backed by Saudi Aramco, the state-owned national oil company of Saudi Arabia, valued at over $2 trillion.

Furthermore, it’s reported that the SPL aims to attract more high-profile coaches to its ranks. Notable names in the rumor mill include Thomas Tuchel, set to depart Bayern Munich at the season’s end, FC Porto’s Sergio Conceicao, and the under-pressure Chelsea manager Mauricio Pochettino.