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9 Premier League players targeted for Saudi Pro League moves

9 Premier League players targeted for Saudi Pro League moves

It’s gearing up to be another lavish summer of spending for the Saudi Pro League, who remain determined to sign the world’s best footballers.

Cristiano Ronaldo, Sadio Mane and Karim Benzema led the way in 2023 as extraordinary amounts of money were thrown around the Saudi Public Investment Fund (PIF), who are in the corner of Al Nassr, Al Hilal, Al Ittihad and Al Ahli.

More high-profile departures from top level European football are expected, with a renewed focus on players currently plying their trade in the Premier League.

Can some of the biggest names be tempted over to the Middle East? That remains to be seen, but there’s certainly a number of players they are after…

Raphael Varane

Raphael Varane is leaving Manchester United this summer / Michael Regan/GettyImages

Raphael Varane’s Manchester United departure has already been confirmed, with the World Cup winner’s Old Trafford contract expiring in June.

Is it operation Saudi Arabia for the 32-year-old? Potentially.

90min understands that Al Ittihad and Al Nassr have both been working diligently on a potential transfer, and with a return to Varane’s former clubs – he’s previously expressed an interest in rejoining Real Madrid or Lens – seemingly off the table, it would appear they are red-hot favourites to get a deal done.


Richarlison cost Tottenham £60m / Robin Jones/GettyImages

There were high hopes for Richarlison when he rocked at Tottenham Hotspur in a deal potentially worth £60m, but it’s fair to say the Brazilian hasn’t lived up to the billing despite upping his goal output during 2023/24.

Spurs supporters have been frustrated with his profligacy in front of goal, with many definitive in their belief that Richarlison is not the out and out striker needed to replace Harry Kane.

Saudi interest has been known since December, when Spurs were against doing a deal, but it remains to be seen whether or not that stance would change were a sizeable cheque to land on Daniel Levy.


Ederson has been at Manchester City since 2017 / Michael Regan/GettyImages

Manchester City goalkeeper Ederson has won everything there is to win during his seven-year stay at the club, so it perhaps makes sense that he’s been linked with a move to Saudi.

The Brazilian is one of world football’s best goalkeepers and would certainly raise the bar in the Middle East were he to bring an end to his Premier League career.

Is a move likely for the 30-year-old? Logic would suggest not, given he still has so much to offer, and City’s stance on selling is almost certain to be unfavourable.

Bruno Fernandes

Bruno Fernandes is being continually linked with a move away from Manchester United / Michael Regan/GettyImages

The rumour mill has gone into overdrive since it was claimed that Manchester United will listen to offers for any player not named Alejandro Garnacho, Rasmus Hojlund and Kobbie Mainoo.

One name dominating gossip columns is that of captain Bruno Fernandes, linked sensationally with a swap deal involving Barcelona’s Frenkie de Jong among other moves.

Fernandes’ preference is to remain at United – he’s intimated at much – and it would be a surprise if the club really did follow through and sanction a sale. But there’s definite interest from Saudi in doing a deal, who can obviously match the wage demands of basically any player in the world.

Gabriel Jesus

Gabriel Jesus is no longer assured of a start at Arsenal / Copa/GettyImages

After struggling to nail down a regular starting role at Arsenal, there’s been talk of Gabriel Jesus being on the Saudi radar alongside teammate Thomas Partey.

Mikel Arteta has publicly backed the 27-year-old, citing is ability to play in multiple positions and other favourable traits, but the Spaniard’s continued selection of Kai Havertz up front is an indicator of where Jesus stands in the pecking order.

The Brazilian may feel he has far more to give at the highest level of football, but there’s been few other links to speak of.

Alisson Becker

Alisson is widely regarded as the world’s best goalkeeper / Justin Setterfield/GettyImages

If Ederson isn’t ripe for the picking, Saudi Pro League chiefs hope a deal is there to be done for Liverpool goalkeeper Alisson.

You’d imagine some serious convincing would need to be done in order for the Brazilian number one to leave in the Premier League in his prime, but the fact Saudi are targeting a move signifies the level of their ambition.

Liverpool won’t want to sell, that much you can probably conclude quickly, and it’s highly unlikely that a large enough financial carrot could be dangled given Alisson’s contract runs for another three years.

Kevin De Bruyne

Kevin De Bruyne continues to sparkle for Manchester City / James Baylis – AMA/GettyImages

Kevin De Bruyne has been on the Saudi Pro League’s list of transfer targets for a number of months, but it’s hard to imagine a world where Manchester City let arguably the best creative midfielder in the game leave.

Yes, the 32-year-old has struggled with injuries, but he continues to put in outstanding performance after outstanding performance for a City team who want to ensure Pep Guardiola eventually leaves with the ultimate legacy.

De Bruyne’s known to be settled in Manchester, making a Middle East move all the more unlikely.


Casemiro has lost his way at Manchester United / Robbie Jay Barratt – AMA/GettyImages

From unlikely to almost certainly – that’s the camp Casemiro finds himself in after a dismal spell at Manchester United.

One of the most decorated players of modern times, the Brazilian has unexpectedly lost his way at Old Trafford and looks to be a shoo-in to leave this summer.

Casemiro gets paid around £350,000-per-week wage wise, but that’s small fry for the budget of the Saudi Pro League.

Mohamed Salah - Winger - Born 1992

Salah is the top target for the Saudi Pro League / Visionhaus/GettyImages

Alongside Kevin De Bruyne, Liverpool talisman Mohamed Salah is the ultimate target for the Saudi Pro League.

Turning 32 this summer, Salah remains one of the Premier League’s best forwards, but an exit isn’t as unfathomable as it once was following an alleged fallout with Jurgen Klopp.

Klopp is leaving Liverpool in the summer, potentially making it easier for Salah to stay, and it’s recently been suggested that the Reds are ‘fully expecting’ him to stay. Time will tell after previous bids of £150m.


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