Mbappe, Salah, Sancho Next? Saudi Pro League to Target Top Stars in January

Mbappe, Salah, Sancho Next? Saudi Pro League to Target Top Stars in January

Edwin Kiplagat
updated at November 17, 2023 at 9:37 AM
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C. Ronaldo
Al Nassr FC logoFPortugal logo
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Al-Hilal Saudi FC logoFBrazil logo
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  • Saudi Pro League chief has said its clubs are planning major moves in January
  • The SPL have signed some of football's biggest stars this year
  • Cristiano Ronaldo, Sadio Mane and Neymar are some of the stars who have moved to Saudi Arabia

Saudi Pro League boss Michael Emenalo has disclosed that the clubs in the league are plotting major moves in the 2024 January transfer window.

The SPL have signed high-profile football stars like Cristiano Ronaldo and Neymar this year, and they could go for more in January.

Mohamed Salah, Cristiano Ronaldo, Jadon Sancho, Saudi Pro League, Al-Nassr, Kylian Mbappe, Neymar
The Saudi Pro League spent more than some top European leagues. Photos by Visionhaus, Khalid Alhaj/MB Media, and Visionhaus.
Source: Getty Images

The SPL has experienced a rapid rise in the last few months and ranks as one of the biggest spenders, eating some of Europe's leagues.

According to FIFA, via the Independent, they spent a staggering £701 million in the summer.

Al-Hilal made the move of the summer, spending 90 million euros to sign Neymar from Paris St Germain. They added Aleksandar Mitrovic, Kalidou Koulibaly, Ruben Neves and Sergej Milinkovic-Savic. They made a world record bid to sign Kylian Mbappe from PSG, but a deal never materialised.

Al-Ittihad attempted to sign Liverpool star Mohamed Salah, but a transfer did not happen.

Apart from that, the league is being graced by other high-profile footballers like Karim Benzema and Sadio Mane.

The country's Public Investment Fund owns 75% of each of Al-Ittihad, Al-Ahli, Al-Nassr and Al-Hilal. These clubs have made huge signings so far.

Emenalo on the January window

Speaking to the Saudi Pro League website, the league's chief, Emenalo, spoke about plans for the January transfer window.

He said clubs need to work in training on creating teams that can compete and play together.

"I'm hoping it's 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."

However, he added that if signings need to be made, they will be of the "highest level."

"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."

With the country expecting to win the rights to host the 2034 World Cup, these moves could help develop a strong Saudi national team to compete with the world's best.

Benzema backs Saudi Arabia's World Cup bid

As Sports Brief previously reported, Saudi Arabia recently announced their intention to bid to host the 2034 World Cup.

The announcement came after Morocco, Spain, and Portugal were awarded the rights to host the tournament in 2030.

Al-Ittihad striker, Karim Benzema and Al-Ahli winger, Riyad Mahrez took to social media recently to bolster the Saudi bid.

Edwin Kiplagat photo
Edwin Kiplagat
Edwin Kiplagat has five years of experience in journalism working as a Sports Editor at Africa Insight Communications and ESPN. Edwin Kiplagat is a Bachelor's Degree holder in journalism from the Multimedia University of Kenya.