Who’s headed to Saudi Arabia so far and who could be next?
The Saudi Pro League could soon be adding a World Cup final hat-trick goalscorer, a Manchester City treble-winner and Liverpool’s Premier League-winning captain to their burgeoning collection of big-name signings.
There has been a powerful recruitment drive by the PIF-owned clubs in Saudi Arabia as the league looks to establish itself among the best in the world and now Kylian Mbappe, Riyad Mahrez and Jordan Henderson could be the next additions.
Here, the PA news agency looks at 10 players already in the Middle East preparing for the new season.
Cristiano Ronaldo – Al-Nassr
After his acrimonious departure from Manchester United, five-time Ballon D’Or winner Ronaldo headed to Saudi Arabia as a statement signing that told the footballing world the league meant business.
Karim Benzema – Al-Ittihad
Reigning Ballon D’Or winner Benzema followed his former Real Madrid team-mate, leaving the Spanish capital after his contract expired having won five Champions League titles during his stay.
N’Golo Kante – Al-Ittihad
Like his fellow France international Benzema, Kante headed for the Gulf on a free transfer as he opted to leave Chelsea at the end of his deal, albeit with considerable concerns over his fitness.
Ruben Neves – Al-Hilal
Portugal international Neves had helped Wolves out of the Sky Bet Championship before enjoying five Premier League campaigns at Molineux, establishing himself as one of the highest-regarded midfielders in the division – something that earned him a reported £47million move.
Kalidou Koulibaly – Al Hilal
Having spent just a single season at Stamford Bridge, Senegal centre-back Koulibaly departed Chelsea for a fee in the region of £20m and with a team-mate and compatriot not far behind.
Edouard Mendy – Al-Ahli
Mendy lost his place as first-choice goalkeeper at Chelsea having arrived at the club in 2020. He made just 10 Premier League appearances last season before opting for a move to Saudi Arabia.
Jota – Al-Ittihad
Having hit 15 goals to help Celtic win a domestic treble, former Portugal youth international Jota clearly caught the eye of the money-men in Saudi Arabia and made the £25m move at the start of July.
Marcelo Brozovic – Al-Nassr
Brozovic bowed out of Inter Milan after captaining the Serie A side in their Champions League final loss to Manchester City, the 30-year-old Croatia midfielder heading to Saudi after eight seasons and five major trophies in Italy.
Roberto Firmino – Al-Ahli
The highest-scoring Brazilian in Premier League history, Firmino enjoyed a long and emotional goodbye to the Liverpool supporters, among whom he was a firm favourite after eight years at Anfield.
Sergej Milinkovic-Savic – Al-Hilal
Lazio’s player of the season in 2020-21 and 2021-22, Milinkovic-Savic had been touted as a midfielder who would make his mark at the highest level of European football. Now, though, he will be turning out in the Saudi Pro League after a reported £34.3m switch.
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