The 2023 summer transfer window has seen a lot of teams sign players. The big guns in Europe are fighting tooth and nail to ensure that they strengthen their squads to be very competitive in the coming season. However, it is very interesting to note that despite Europe being the major hub of football in the world today, the transfer market has seen them being eclipsed by the Asian continent, Saudi Arabia to be precise. The Saudis have taken this summer transfer window by storm as we are recording an astronomical level of exodus of players from Europe as they seek to join the Saudi League. One can’t help but ask why this is so. 

The Middle Easterners started their venture by buying clubs in Europe and are now looking to improve their local league. During the last transfer window (January transfer window), they hit the jackpot as they were able to secure the signature of a football legend, Cristiano Ronaldo, who joined Al Nassr from Manchester United. The deal saw the football legend sign a two-and-a-half-year deal that is worth about £ 173 million. Ever since then, the confidence spread across Saudi Arabia to go all out for other players to grow their league. What is striking, however, is their methodology as we see the Middle Easterners offer an incredible and irresistible amount of money to their prospective players. All these moves are in a bid to achieve their 2030 vision, which is to ensure that they achieve the goal of increased diversification economically, socially and culturally.

Earlier in this transfer window, the Saudi Arabians saw their hopes dashed as another footballing gem, Lionel Messi declined their offer. The Argentine World Cup winner turned down a record-breaking offer of € 400 million annually by Al Hilal. Despite that, the Saudis weren’t deterred and so far, they have managed to secure the signature of several players from Europe with mouth-watering salaries. The summary of the Saudi business to date is as follows:


1. Karim Benzema: The prolific striker signed for Al Ittihad from Real Madrid on a free transfer. The deal is a two-year contract worth about £ 200 million per year.

2. N’Golo Kanté: The midfield wizard secured a move from Chelsea to Al Ittihad on a free transfer. The deal sees the Frenchman sign a 4-year contract worth about £ 86 million per year.

3. Ruben Neves: The ex-Wolverhampton midfielder secured a move to Al Hilal for a transfer fee of €55million. The deal is a 3-year deal. Though the salary is undisclosed, he’s expected to be earning not less than £ 67 million per year.

4. Kalidou Koulibaly: The ex-Chelsea defender secured a move to Al Hilal for a transfer fee worth £ 17 million. He signed a 3-year deal and is to earn a salary between £ 55-60 million per year.

5. Edouard Mendy: The deal saw the transfer of the Senegalese goalkeeper from Chelsea to Al Ahi for a transfer fee of £ 16 million. The details of the contract are yet to be revealed.

6. Marcelo Brozovic: The Croatian midfielder secured a move from Inter Milan to Al Nassr for a transfer fee of € 18 million. He signed a contract of three years which will see him earn €25million per season.

7. Roberto Firmino: The Brazilian striker signed a 3-year deal as he moved from Liverpool on a free transfer. His salary ranges between €45-50million per year.

8. Milinkovic Savic: The ex Lazio midfielder, secured a move from Lazio to Al Hilal on a 3-year deal for a transfer fee of €40million. The deal will see him earn a salary of € 20 million per season.

9. Jordan Henderson: The ex-Liverpool legend just recently secured a move from Liverpool to Al Ettifaq for a transfer fee of £ 12 million. The deal is a 3-year deal and it will see him earn about £65million per year.

10. Allan Saint-Maximin: The deal saw the player move from Newcastle United to Al Ahli for a transfer fee of $ 30 million. The contract is for three years and will see the French winger earn £ 12 million per year.

11. Riyad Mahrez: The Algerian prodigy has secured a move to Al Ahli for a transfer fee worth £ 30 million from Manchester City. The winger signed a two and half year deal and is set to earn £750000 per week.


1. Seko Fofana: The former Lens player secured a move from Lens to Al Nassr for a transfer fee worth €25million. He signed a 3-year deal which will see him earn a salary of €26million per season.

2. Moussa Dembele: The Frenchman secured a move from Lyon to Al Ettifaq on a 4-year deal on a free transfer. The forward is set to earn a total of €33million per year.

3. Jack Hendry: The deal saw the player move from Club Brugge to Al Ettifaq on a 3-year deal for a transfer fee worth  £ 6.5 million. The player is said to earn about € 11 million per year.

4. Fabío Henrique Tavares a.k.a Fabinho (Liverpool to Al-Ittihad): The 29-year-old midfielder recently completed a move to Al-Ittihad, further bolstering their ranks.

5. Alex Telles (Manchester United to Al Nassr): The fullback completed a move to Al Nassr and is set to link up with Ronaldo once again.


1. Neymar Jr (PSG to Al Hilal): The details of the proposal are currently unknown as PSG are desperate to offload the Brazilian forward.

2. Hakim Ziyech(Chelsea to Al Nassr): The Moroccan winger is almost on his way out as the deal is said to be 50% done.

3. Bernardo Silva(Manchester City to Al Hilal): Initial talks are still yet to be held but the Saudi side, Al Hilal have indicated genuine interest in the Portuguese attacker.

4. Saul Niguéz(Atlético de Madrid to Al Nassr): Talks are currently ongoing as Al Nassr are willing to pay the €66million transfer fee that Diégo Simeone’s side is requesting.

5. Paul Pogba(Juventus to Al Ahli): Al Ahli are interested in the French midfielder and are willing to offer him a 3-year contract which will see him earn €100million per year if he decides to join their side.

The Saudi Window closes later than the European Transfer Window so there’s still quite some time for Saudi clubs to complete more transfers. Whether these transfers will be successes remain to be seen. We’ve seen China and the MLS buy European players without much coming from it in the past, would the Saudis be the ones to finally change the dynamics?

Nmesomachi Okoronkwo

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *