Saudi Pro League: Which players have joined riches of Saudi teams this summer

Saudi Pro League teams have made many headlines this summer, with stars like Karim Benzema, Kante and Ruben Neves joining Cristiano Ronaldo

Avignyan Mukhopadhyay
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Karim Benzema | Al-Ittihad | Sportz Point | Saudi Pro League

Saudi Pro League teams have made many headlines this summer, with stars like Karim Benzema, N'Golo Kante and Ruben Neves joining Cristiano Ronaldo in the country.

Saudi Arabia plan on spending £17billion on transfers between now and 2023, it has been claimed.

According to CBS Sports, Saudi Arabia's Ministry of Sport will provide £17bn for Saudi Pro League transfers over the next seven years.

Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund recently took over four of the country's top teams - Al-Ittihad, Al-Nassr, Al-Hilal and Al-Ahli - while the other 14 top-flight clubs have some big-name players too.

PSG have reportedly accepted a 300 million euros bid for Mbappe from Saudi Arabian club Al-Hilal. If Mbappe agrees to move to the Saudi Pro League, he could earn a staggering 700 million euros salary for a year and then move to Real Madrid next summer.

The Middle-Eastern country are eager to land Kylian Mbappe, with Al Hilal seeing a huge £259million bid for the 24-year-old accepted by PSG.

Also, Al Hilal are in talks with midfielder Marco Verratti after Paris St Germain team-mate Kylian Mbappe refused to discuss a world record £259million move.

Verratti, who has a contract with the Ligue 1 side to 2026, has been offered a three-year deal by the Saudi Pro League side.

The Italy international, 30, has spent the majority of his career at the Parc des Princes after joining from Pescara in 2012.

So many players - and managers- have recently moved to Saudi Pro League, that it's hard to keep up.


Edouard Mendy | Saudi Pro League | Sportz Point

Edouard Mendy left Chelsea for Al-Ahli this summer (Image-Getty Images)

Al-Ahli are one of the country's biggest teams in the Saudi Pro League- and one of the four taken over by the PIF recently. The three-time champions were in the second tier last season but went up as champions. The Jeddah side, who share a ground with Al-Ittihad, are still looking for a manager.

They have just agreed a £30m deal to bring Manchester City forward Riyad Mahrez to the club.

Ex-Liverpool striker Roberto Firmino and former Chelsea goalkeeper Edouard Mendy are their other two biggest signings this summer. Ezgjan Alioski and Modou Barrow have both played in the Premier League, for Leeds and Swansea respectively, while Bastos is a former Lazio defender.


Steven Gerrard | Sportz Point

Steven Gerrard is managing in his third country after success at Rangers and the opposite at Aston Villa (Image- BBC)

Former Rangers and Aston Villa boss Steven Gerrard will manage Al-Ettifaq this season, with England and Liverpool midfielder Jordan Henderson set to join his squad after the clubs agreed a deal worth £12m plus add-ons.

Scotland defender Jack Hendry has signed from Club Bruges, the 28-year-old having also spent a period last season on loan in Italy with Cremonese.

Winger Amin Younes, who has won eight senior caps for Germany, should be back in their squad this year after a loan spell with Utrecht. Forward Robin Quaison is a Sweden international.

Their last silverware was in the 1980s.


Kalidou Koulibaly | Sportz Point

Kalidou Koulibaly left Chelsea after just one season (Image- Getty Images)

Al-Hilal have won a record four Asian Champions Leagues and 18 Saudi Pro League titles. Ex-Benfica boss Jorge Jesus replaced former Oxford manager Ramon Diaz this summer.

Another PIF-owned club, they spent £47m this summer to sign Wolves captain Ruben Neves and also brought in Kalidou Koulibaly from Chelsea and Lazio midfielder Sergej Milinkovic-Savic for big fees. Ex-Porto striker Moussa Marega, former West Brom playmaker Matheus Pereira and Peru winger Andre Carrillo, once of Watford, are also in the team.


Karim Benzema | Saudi Pro League | Sportz Point

Karim Benzema is the current Ballon d'Or holder (Image- BBC)

Al-Ittihad - also owned by PIF - are Al-Hilal's big rivals in a derby known as Saudi's Clasico. They are the defending champions, with ex-Wolves and Tottenham boss Nuno Espirito Santo leading them to last season's title. Scot Ian Cathro is one of Nuno's first-team coaches.

Formed in 1927, they are Saudi Arabia's oldest football club.

They were one of the biggest movers this summer, signing Real Madrid's Ballon d'Or winner Karim Benzema and N'Golo Kante, formerly of Chelsea, plus £25m Celtic forward Jota.

They join ex-Brazil keeper Marcelo Grohe, former West Brom defender Ahmed Hegazi and Brazilian midfielder Igor Coronado, who played for Banbury United in 2012 after coming through the MK Dons youth set-up.


Cristiano Ronaldo

Cristiano Ronaldo was one of the only household names in the league last season (Image- FIFA)

Nine-time champions of Saudi Pro League, Al-Nassr beat their league rivals to worldwide headlines by several months when they signed five-time Ballon d'Or winner Cristiano Ronaldo in January after his Manchester United exit. He scored 14 goals as they finished second in the Pro League.

Ronaldo's fellow Portuguese Luis Castro replaced Rudi Garcia as boss this summer, and they are the other PIF club.

Inter Milan captain Marcelo Brozovic, Man Utd full-back Alex Telles and Lens midfielder Seko Fofana also made the move recently.

Ex-Arsenal keeper David Ospina, former Argentina international Gonzalo Martinez, ex-Benfica forward Talisca and Ivory Coast defender Ghislain Konan also play for the team. Saudi international Mukhtar Ali played for England at Under-16 and U17 level.

Other key targets that might join the Saudi Pro League:

The Saudi Pro League, the top flight apparently have three other signings in mind as they look to send more shockwaves around world football.

Luka Modric is being lined up for a move, despite the Croatia international recently signing a new contract with Real Madrid.

The veteran has been with Los Blancos ever since joining from Tottenham in 2012.

And Modric could end up pursuing a new challenge elsewhere, having won five Champions League titles during his stint at the Bernabeu.

It's also said Neymar is a target, too.

The Brazil international has blown hot and cold ever since his move to PSG from Barcelona back in 2017.

Another star Saudi Pro League are hoping to attract is Robert Lewandowski.

The Poland international dazzled for Barcelona last season, scoring 33 goals from 46 appearances.

However, unlike Mbappe, Neymar and Modric, any potential deal for Lewandowski is likely to take place next year instead.

When asked about his future last month, the former Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund star made his intentions clear.

Saudi Pro League Al Hilal Saudi