Saudi Arabia transfer: Done deals and who’s next

Saudi Arabia transfer: Done deals and who’s next as we bring the list of the superstars who left elite football in Europe to join the new and rising league from the Middle East.

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The pioneer who set the ‘trend’ was Cristiano Ronaldo, having left Man United and joined Al Nassr as free transfer. Since Ronaldo, numerous big players from top clubs have shockingly followed to Arabia.

Done deals

Karim Benzema – Real Madrid to Al Ittihad (Free transfer)

Benzema refused to activate his contract clause to stay in Madrid for another season and decided to join Al Ittihad as free transfer.

A serial winner who was the latest Ballon d’Or winner will rock Saudi Pro League as he signed a three-year contract worth $107 million a year.

Benzema's 200 million euro move to Al Ittihad is officially done
Benzema’s 200 million euro move to Al Ittihad is officially done

N’Golo Kante – Chelsea to Al Ittihad (Free transfer)

A protracted transfer saga finally ended with French midfielder Kante calling an end to his seven-year stay at Stamford Bridge to join his international teammate Benzema at Al Ittihad on a free transfer. The 2018 FIFA World Cup winner will earn $86m per year throughout his four-year deal with the Jeddah-based club.

Kante joined Al Ittihad with Karim Benzema
Kante joined Al Ittihad with Karim Benzema

Ruben Neves – Wolverhampton Wanderers to Al Hilal ($60m)

Premier League side Wolverhampton Wanderers received a club-record fee of $60m for the transfer of their captain, Neves, to Al Hilal. The Portugal international midfielder joined Asia’s most successful club side.

Kalidou Koulibaly – Chelsea to Al Hilal ($20m)

Saudi Arabia’s raid on Stamford Bridge continued as the PIF targeted more players. Chelsea cut their losses on Senegal defender Koulibaly, having paid $42m to bring the 32-year-old from Napoli last summer.

Who’s next

Neymar – PSG to Al Hilal

The 31-year-old superstar has been injured for most of the season, and reports say that Brazil international could be moving away from Paris this summer, with Saudi’s Al Hilal one of the sides interested in securing the sensation. 

Hakim Ziyech – Chelsea to Al Nasser

After a stellar World Cup campaign in which he led Morocco to the first semifinal for an African nation, Ziyech looks set to return to the Middle East, this time to team up with Ronaldo, whom his side had eliminated in the quarterfinals in Qatar. After a less-than-impressive three-year spell at Chelsea, the 30-year-old is set to join Al Nassr.

Edouard Mendy – Chelsea to Al Ahli

The Senegal goalkeeper rounds off the Chelsea players (after Koulibaly, Kante, and Ziyech) linked with a move to Arabia. The 31-year-old is expected to line up on the opposite side of the Jeddah derby to his former teammate Kante, joining Al Ahli.

Roberto Firmino – Liverpool to Al Ahli

It’s a huge surprise to see Bobby Firmino moving to the Middle East, despite rumors that top clubs like Madrid or Man United wanted him.

The Brazilian forward left Liverpool after eight seasons, scoring 110 goals and winning the Premier League, Champions League, and FA Cup.

Ronaldo in Al-Nassr
Ronaldo in Al-Nassr

Bernardo Silva – Manchester City to Al Hilal

The treble-winner has been linked with Barcelona and Paris Saint-Germain, but Silva has not decided his next destination after the historic season ended with Man City.

The Portuguese may join his international teammate Ruben Neves at Al Hilal, but City would love to see him extend the contract for another season.

Saul – Atletico Madrid to Al Nassr

Atletico Madrid midfielder Saul is considering a move to Saudi Arabia’s Al Nassr. However, Diego Simeone’s side will demand a significant fee with the Spain international still under contract until 2026.

Marcelo Brozovic – Inter Milan to Al Nassr

Al Nassr are targeting the 30-year-old Croatian midfielder after making an offer of $16m to Inter Milan, who consider the offer too low and request $27m to move talks forward.

Wilfried Zaha – Crystal Palace to Al Nassr

The 30-year-old winger’s contract is set to expire at the end of June, and although Al Nassr have made a $38m per year offer, reports say that Zaha will reject the move. He has also attracted interest from PSG.

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