Saudi Arabia transfer tracker: Done deals and players linked

The big story of this summer transfer window has been the rise of the Saudi Pro League as a hot destination looking to attract the biggest stars in European football, and with the Saudis, bankrolled by the $620 billion Public Investment Fund (PIF), taking the market by storm, we bring you the latest updates on who is making the move to the kingdom, who is saying “thanks, but no thanks” and who is still mulling it over.

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Done deals

June 6 — Karim Benzema, FW: Real Madrid to Al Ittihad (Free transfer)

The current Ballon d’Or holder got Saudi Arabia’s summer business underway in style, completing a free transfer from 14-time European champions Real Madrid to the two-time Asian champions Al Ittihad. The 35-year-old France international signed a two-year contract worth €400million ($436m).

June 21 — N’Golo Kante, MF: Chelsea to Al Ittihad (Free transfer)

A protracted transfer saga finally came to an end 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 is set to earn €86m ($109.78m) per year throughout his four-year deal with the Jeddah-based club.

June 24 — Ruben Neves, MF: Wolverhampton Wanderers to Al Hilal (€55m, $60m)

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

June 25 — Kalidou Koulibaly, DF: Chelsea to Al Hilal (£17m, $21.61m)

Saudi Arabia’s raid on Stamford Bridge continued as the PIF target more players. Chelsea cut their losses on Senegal defender Koulibaly who joined Al Hilal on a three-year deal, having paid €40m to bring the 32-year-old from Napoli last summer.

June 28 — Edouard Mendy, GK: Chelsea to Al Ahli (£16m, $21m)

The Senegal goalkeeper has completed a transfer from West London to Jeddah on a three-year deal. The 31-year-old won the Champions League and the UEFA Men’s Best Goalkeeper Award in 2021 with Chelsea, and he will now line up on the opposite side of the Jeddah derby to his former teammate Kante, joining Al Ahli.

July 3 — Steven Gerrard, coach, to Al Ettifaq

Gerrard is the new manager of Al Ettifaq after resuming talks with the club over a return to management, sources told ESPN’s Mark Ogden, and has agreed to take over the Dammam-based outfit. The former Liverpool captain, who was fired by Aston Villa in November 2022 after less than 12 months at Villa Park, rejected an initial offer to move to Al Ettifaq last month. But after further discussions with the club hierarchy, the 43-year-old has come to an agreement.

July 3 — Marcelo Brozovic, MF: Inter Milan to Al Nassr (€18m, $20m)

The 30-year-old Croatia international has completed the move from Inter Milan to Al Nassr, where he will team up with Ronaldo. Brozovic had interest from Barcelona, but he opted for Riyadh instead, where he has reportedly signed a three-year deal with a salary of €25m (nearly $30m) per season.

July 3 — Jota, FW: Celtic to Al Ittihad (£25m, $31.7m)

The 24-year-old winger joins Benzema and Kante as the Jeddah club’s third signing this summer after he agreed to a three-year contract with the Saudi champions. Jota signed on loan for Celtic from Benfica in September 2021 before making the transfer permanent in July 2022. Over his two years in Glasgow, the Portuguese contributed 28 goals and 26 assists.

July 4 — Roberto Firmino, FW: Liverpool to Al Ahli (Free transfer)

The forward, 31, agreed a three-year deal with the Saudi team and joins former Chelsea goalkeeper Mendy at the Jeddah-based club. Firmino made the move as a free agent after his contract at Liverpool expired at the end of last season.

July 12 — Sergej Milinkovic-Savic, MF: Lazio to Al Hilal (€40m, $44m)

The 28-year-old Serbian had interest from Arsenal and Liverpool recently, but has completed his transfer to Al Hilal, where he will join Neves and Koulibaly. Milinkovic-Savic spent the last eight years in Serie A at Lazio, and will move to Riyadh on a €20m-per-year ($22m) salary until 2026.

July 18 — Seko Fofana, MF: Lens to Al Nassr (€25m, $28m)

The 28-year-old Ivory Coast international has completed a move to join Ronaldo and Brozovic at Al Nassr on a three-year deal. Lens also released a statement which confirmed that Fofana will leave the Ligue 1 club as a shareholder. Fofana helped Lens to a second-place finish last season, only one point behind league winners Paris Saint-Germain.

July 23 — Alex Telles, DF: Manchester United to Al Nassr (€4m, $4.4m)

The 30-year-old defender has signed for Al Nassr on a three-year deal. Telles was on loan at Sevilla last season, where he helped knock out Man United en route to lifting the Europa League title. The Brazilian will reunite with former United teammate Ronaldo.

July 26 — Malcom, FW: Zenit St Petersburg to Al Hilal (€60m, $66m)

The 26-year-old Brazilian has signed a four-year deal to join to Al Hilal, where he will play alongside Koulibaly, Neves and Milinkovic-Savic. Malcom moved to Zenit in 2019 from Barcelona, and lifted the Russian Premier League title last season as the top scorer (23) in the league.

July 27 — Jordan Henderson, MF: Liverpool to Al Ettifaq (£12m, $15.4m)

The Liverpool captain completed his three-year move to the Saudi outfit, where he will join former Reds teammate Gerrard. The 33-year-old England international joined Liverpool in 2011, and won the Premier League, FA Cup, Champions League and League Cup with them.

July 27 — Moussa Dembele, FW: Lyon to Al Ettifaq (Free transfer)

The French striker joins Gerrard and Henderson at Al Ettifaq on a four-year deal after the expiry of his contract with Lyon, who he joined in 2018. The former Celtic forward made 28 appearances last season for Lyon and scored three goals.

July 27 — Jack Hendry, DF: Club Brugge to Al Ettifaq (£6.5m, $8.3m)

The 28-year-old Scotland international is one of the several signings confirmed in a short span of time by Al Ettifaq. After joining Brugges in 2021, Hendry made 32 appearances for them in the Belgian Pro League and spent time on loan at Cremonese in Serie A last season.

July 28 — Riyad Mahrez, FW: Manchester City to Al Ahli (€35m, $39m)

The two clubs have come to agreement for the transfer of the Algerian international on a three-year contract (with an option to extend). The 32-year-old helped City to the treble last season after spending five years at the club, over which time he won four Premier League titles.

July 30 — Allan Saint-Maximin, FW: Newcastle United to Al Ahli (undisclosed fee)

The 26-year-old Frenchman has made his move to Al Ahli official after Newcastle head coach Eddie Howe confirmed that Saint-Maximin “is in discussions regarding a move to another club.” Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF), who own Newcastle, also have a 75% stake in four clubs in the country’s league, including Al Ahli. Howe added that in order for the Magpies to make more transfers in the future, they needed to move the player out due to Financial Fair Play regulations.

July 31 — Fabinho, MF: Liverpool to Al Ittihad (£40m, $51.33m)

Brazil midfielder Fabinho has signed for current Saudi Pro League champions Al Ittihad on a three-year deal. Fabinho, 29, will join Benzema and Kante in Saudi after making 219 appearances for Liverpool since joining the Reds in 2018.

Aug. 1 — Sadio Mane, FW: Bayern Munich to Al Nassr (£24m, $30m)

After a year playing for the Bundesliga champions, Mane will team up with Ronaldo, Brozovic, Fofana and Telles at Al Nassr on a four-year deal. The 31-year-old Senegal international had an underwhelming season at Bayern, scoring 12 goals in 38 appearances and falling out of favor with the team for punching teammate Leroy Sane after a Champions League defeat to Manchester City in April.

Aug. 9 — Franck Kessie, DF: Barcelona to Al Ahli (€12m, $13m)

The Barcelona defender leaves the Camp Nou after one season at the club, where he made 43 appearances and won LaLiga. The 26-year-old Ivory Coast international joined Barca on a free transfer last summer from AC Milan, and scored the winning goal in El Clasico in March against Real Madrid.



Neymar given huge welcome by Al Hilal fans

Neymar was given a feverous reception when introduced to Al Hilal fans at their 70,000-capacity stadium.

Aug. 15 Neymar, FW: PSG to Al Hilal (€90m, $98.6m)

The 31-year-old superstar and Brazil’s joint all-time top scorer leaves the Parc des Princes on a transfer fee of €90 million ($98.6m). A return to Barcelona never fully materialized, and Neymar will now head to Riyadh. Neymar will have a two-year contract and is reportedly being paid an annual salary of around $100 million. That would be around half of the reported salary Cristiano Ronaldo is being paid by Al Nassr.

Aug. 17 — Yassine Bounou, GK: Sevilla to Al Hilal (€21m, $22.8m)

The 32-year-old Morocco international will join Al Hilal, the most successful club in Saudi Arabia and Asia, on a three-year deal. Bounou reached the semifinals of the World Cup with Morocco in 2022, and helped Sevilla lift two Europa League titles.

Aug. 19 — Aleksandar Mitrovic, FW: Fulham to Al Hilal (£46m, $58.6m)

Fulham initially rejected a bid from Al Hilal of €30m ($33m) to sign their top scorer, but Mitrovic was keen on the move and will make the shift to Saudi Arabia on a three-year deal. The 28-year-old Serbian international made 205 appearances for the team and scored 14 Premier League goals last season.

Aug. 23 — Otavio, MF: Porto to Al Nassr (€60m, $65m)

Otavio will join his compatriot Ronaldo at Al Nassr on a three-year deal. Despite interest from Inter, Juventus, Newcastle and Man United, the 28-year-old attacking midfielder chose the Saudi Pro League. Otavio joined Porto in 2016, scoring 31 goals and making 75 assists in 283 appearances.

Aug. 24 — Aymeric Laporte, DF: Man City to Al Nassr (€27.5m, $30m)

A €65m signing from Athletic Club back in 2018, Laporte had slipped down the pecking order at City after suffering with injury over recent seasons. Al Nassr have picked up a quality player, who is still only 29, for a cheap fee.

Aug. 26 — Gabri Veiga, FW: Celta Vigo to Al Ahli (€40m, $43m)

A youth product of Celta and one of LaLiga’s top young talents, the 21-year-old had been close to signing for Napoli. The Italian club had reportedly reached a verbal agreement over a €36m transfer but Al Ahli paid his €40m release clause and offered him five times more money in wages. He is the first young star to pick the Saudi league over Europe.



The amount it would take for Steve Nicol to move Mohamed Salah

Stevie Nicol gives the prices he would accept if he were running Liverpool for star Mohamed Salah.

Talks ongoing

Gini Wijnaldum, MF: PSG to Al Ettifaq

Former Liverpool midfielder Wijnaldum is set to play under his ex-teammate Steven Gerrard at Saudi club Al Ettifaq, with PSG landing a €9m fee. The Netherlands international saw his playing time decrease in Paris and has opted for a new challenge, where he will play alongside Jordan Henderson again.

Yannick Carrasco, FW: Atletico Madrid to Al Shabab

Atletico Madrid winger Carrasco is set to move to Saudi side Al Shabab for €15m and is reportedly set to have a medical on Sept. 1. The Belgium international had a clause in his contract for a possible move to Barcelona, but the club have not taken it up.

Paul Pogba, MF: Juventus to Al Ahli

After an injury-hit season and featuring only 10 times for Juve, the 30-year-old France international has reportedly been offered a three-year contract worth €100m ($111m) plus bonuses by the Jeddah-based club. However, there are questions as to whether the midfielder wants to leave the Serie A side as talks between the two parties continue.

Rejected deals

Mohamed Salah, MF: Liverpool to Al Ittihad

Liverpool rejected a £150m bid for Mohamed Salah from Saudi Arabian club Al Ittihad, sources have told ESPN’s Mark Ogden. Salah, 31, has been the subject of intense speculation linking him with a move to the Saudi champions in recent weeks, despite the insistence of Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp that the player would not be allowed to leave Anfield. Al Ittihad finally made their move on Sept. 1, offering an initial £100m for Salah with additional incentives making it worth an eventual £150m to Liverpool. But sources have told ESPN that the offer for Salah has been rejected and that the matter is closed.

Hakim Ziyech, MF: Chelsea to Al Nassr

After a stellar World Cup campaign in Qatar in which he led Morocco to the first semifinal for an African nation, Ziyech was set with a move from Chelsea to the Middle East, this time to team up with Ronaldo. However, concerns were raised over his knee and the deal fell through. Ziyech instead moved to Galatasary on a season-long loan with an obligation to buy.

Bernardo Silva, MF: Manchester City to Al Hilal

Following the move of his international teammate Neves to Al Hilal, City ace Silva was subject of a mega offer from the Saudi club. Also linked with Barcelona and PSG, Silva instead signed a one-year extension which will keep him at the Etihad Stadium until 2026.

Saul, MF: 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.

Kylian Mbappe, FW: PSG to Al Hilal

The Saudi side made a record €300 million ($332m) bid to sign the Frenchman, but sources have told ESPN that Mbappe is not interested. The 2018 World Cup winner is currently in a contract standoff with the Parisian club, and will look to leave at the end of the 2023-24 season as a free agent. PSG cut Mbappe from their preseason tour of Japan, with the club looking to find an offer for him unless he can be convinced to sign a new contract.

Lionel Messi, FW: PSG to Al Hilal

With Ronaldo already plying his trade at Al Nassr since January, Saudi Arabia’s hopes of landing his archrival Messi and recreating their rivalry in the Riyadh derby received a blow when the seven-time Ballon d’Or winner turned down a record offer of €400m ($436m) per year from Al Hilal, opting instead to join MLS side Inter Miami.

Romelu Lukaku, FW: Chelsea to Al Hilal

Following the end of his loan spell at Inter, Lukaku received an offer from Saudi Arabia but has rejected the approach, instead pushing for a permanent move to the Italian club where he played 25 times last season and scored 10 goals.

Jose Mourinho, coach: AS Roma to Al Ahli

Mourinho received an offer from Saudi side Al Ahli, and reportedly met with the club’s president, but the Portuguese coach will remain with Roma for another season after leading them to the Europa League final.

Son Heung-Min, FW: Tottenham Hotspur to Al Ittihad

South Korea captain Son announced his intention to stay at Spurs after he was reported to be the subject of a €30m ($32.7m) per season bid from Saudi Arabian champions Al Ittihad. The 30-year-old said, “I have many things to do in the Premier League. Money doesn’t matter to me now, and the pride of playing football, to play in my favourite league is important. I want to play more for Tottenham in the Premier League. I’ll prepare well when I’m back to Spurs.”

Luka Modric, MF: Real Madrid to Al Hilal

The 2018 Ballon d’Or winner rejected a three-year, £170m ($215m) deal to play in Saudi Arabia and signed a new one-year deal at Real Madrid. Modric is one of the world’s greatest midfielders, and despite being tempted by the SPL, becomes another big player to turn down a move to the Gulf.

Jamie Vardy, FW: Leicester City to Al Khaleej

Al Khaleej, located in the city of Saihat, are one of the clubs who were after former Premier League Golden Boot-winner Vardy. According to The Guardian, the 36-year-old — who has 12 months left on his Leicester contract — is not interested in a move to the Middle East.

Pedro, FW: Flamengo to Al Hilal

Flamengo striker Pedro has turned down a lucrative offer from Saudi Pro League side Al Hilal, Globoesporte reports. Pedro, 26, played for Brazil at the 2022 World Cup after an impressive year with Flamengo where he scored 29 goals, including 12 in the Copa Libertadores. Al Hilal offered Pedro six time the amount he currently earns at Flamengo but the sporting project has not convinced the player. Al Hilal, who appointed former Flamengo coach Jorge Jesus earlier this week, are not giving up on signing Pedro.

Wilfried Zaha, FW: Crystal Palace to Al Nassr

The 30-year-old winger’s contract at Palace was set to expire at the end of June, and although Al Nassr made a (£30m) $38m per year offer, Zaha rejected the move and signed for Turkish club Galatasaray.

Marco Silva, coach: Fulham to Al Ahli

Fulham boss confirmed he received an offer from Al Ahli, but did not make clear whether he would take the deal or not. The Saudi side offered £40 million ($51.4m) over two seasons, however, the 46-year-old reportedly turned down the offer with one year remaining on his contract at Craven Cottage.

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