Saudi Pro League’s transfer activities are still ongoing, even though most European transfer windows have closed. Several clubs in Saudi Arabia are finalizing their squads before the window closes on September 7.
Many high-profile clubs have already secured their desired players, but some are still scouting for star signings. Al Ittihad’s pursuit of Mohammed Salah from Liverpool has been unsuccessful, prompting them to consider other options with their substantial budget. Following the Public Investment Fund’s acquisition of a significant stake in the top four clubs, more transfers are anticipated.
Here’s a more detailed breakdown of the transfer activities of the major clubs in the Saudi Pro League, presented in paragraph format:
Al Hilal: Al Hilal, a dominant force in both Saudi and Asian football, has been active in the transfer market. They’ve made several top-tier signings, including the acquisition of Neymar from PSG. Additionally, they’ve brought in coach Jorge Jesus from Flamengo. Other notable additions to their squad include Yassine Bounou, Kalidou Koulibaly, Ruben Neves, Sergej Milinkovic-Savic, Aleksandar Mitrovic, and Malcom. With the transfer window still open, the club is reportedly in the market for a left-back, with Ayrton Lucas being a primary target.
Al Nassr: Al Nassr, which gained global recognition for signing Cristiano Ronaldo, has further strengthened its squad. The club has added Sadio Mane, Marcelo Brozovic, Seko Fofana, Otavio, Alex Telles, and Aymeric Laporte. Anderson Talisca, another key player, occupies their last foreign player slot. However, if he departs, the club might consider goalkeepers like David de Gea or Hugo Lloris as potential replacements.
Al Ittihad: Al Ittihad has had a strong start in the league but faces uncertainties as the transfer window nears its close. They’ve successfully secured players like Karim Benzema, Fabinho, N’Golo Kante, and Jota. However, their repeated attempts to sign Mohamed Salah from Liverpool have been unsuccessful. This situation leaves the club with decisions to make regarding their formation and overall squad strategy.
Al Ahli: Al Ahli, after experiencing relegation and then a subsequent promotion, has embarked on a rebuilding journey. They’ve utilized the PIF funds to make key signings, including Roberto Firmino, Riyad Mahrez, Allan Saint-Maximin, Franck Kessie, Gabriel Veiga, Roger Ibanez, Merih Demiral, and Edouard Mendy.
Al Shabab: Al Shabab is facing challenges due to the lack of PIF investment. Despite losing some key players, they’ve managed to sign Gustavo Cuellar, Habib Diallo, and Yannick Carrasco to bolster their squad.
Al Ettifaq: Under the leadership of Steven Gerrard, Al Ettifaq has been active in the transfer market. They’ve signed players familiar to Gerrard, including former Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson. Other signings include Jack Hendry, Moussa Dembele, and Gini Wijnaldum from PSG.
Al Fayha: As Al Fayha prepares for their AFC Champions League debut, they’ve made significant signings. They’ve secured the services of players like Fashion Sakala, Henry Onyekuru, and Gojko Cimirot to strengthen their squad.
Al Taawoun: Al Taawoun, known for its Brazilian influence, has added Mateus Castro and Andrei Girotto to their roster. The club continues to maintain its distinct Brazilian touch in its signings.
Abha: Abha has shown trust in experienced players, especially from Poland. They’ve signed Grzegorz Krychowiak upon the recommendation of his former national team coach, Czeslaw Michniewicz.
This provides a comprehensive overview of the transfer activities of the major clubs in the Saudi Pro League.
Abha currently has a roster of 10 foreign players. Among them, Cameroonian goalkeeper Devis Epassy and Algerian winger Tayeb Meziani are expected to be transferred out. The club is actively scouting for an additional player and is competing with Al Fayha for the acquisition of Konan.
Al Fateh: Al Fateh, reminiscent of Leicester City, clinched the Saudi Pro League title in the 2012-13 season, a mere two seasons post their promotion. This remains their pinnacle achievement, and they have consistently played in the top division since. The club operates without the backing of the PIF. Under the guidance of former West Ham and West Brom manager, Slaven Bilic, Al Fateh has made strategic recruitments. They have retained their core foreign players from the previous season and introduced Jason Denayer and Lucas Zelarayan to their lineup. Currently, they are contemplating transferring Moroccan midfielder Marwane Saadane.
Al Wehda: Al Wehda, one of the pioneering football clubs in Saudi Arabia, was established in 1946. Its inception can be traced back to 1916 when Indonesian pilgrims introduced football to Mecca. The club’s colors, red and white, pay homage to the Indonesian flag. Recent signings include Odion Ighalo from Al Shabab and Jawad El Yamiq from Real Valladolid. They are also scouting for an additional player.
Al Raed: Al Raed, a club that has never faced relegation, is recognized as Al Taawoun’s primary rival in Qassim. They operate without PIF support. Their recent acquisitions include Amir Sayoud, Andre Moreira, Oumar Gonzalez, Mathias Normann, and Mamadou Loum. With their foreign player quota filled, no further transfers are anticipated unless faced with a long-term injury.
Al Tai: Hailing from the northern city of Hail, Al Tai is renowned for introducing Mohammed Al Deayea, Saudi Arabia’s legendary goalkeeper. After a few seasons in the lower divisions, they made a strong comeback in the 2021-22 season, securing the sixth position. They have recently signed Robert Bauer, Bernard Mensah, Virgil Misidjan, Enzo Roco, and Andrei Cordea. While they have revamped most of their foreign lineup, they are actively scouting for a striker. Paco Alcacer from Sharjah FC is a potential target.
Damac: Damac, named after the southern Damac mountain, made its debut in the top division in the 2019-20 season and secured fifth place the following season. Their recent signings include Assan Ceesay and Georges-Kevin Nkoudou. After missing out on Lucas Moura, they shifted their focus to Nkoudou, who has shown promising performance. They are also considering World Cup winner Papu Gomez and Egypt’s Tarek Hamed.
Al Khaleej: Located near the eastern oil fields, Al Khaleej was promoted to the SPL last season. Their recent signings include Pedro Rebocho, Ivo Rodrigues, Lisandro Lopez, Jung Woo-young, Ibrahim Sehic, Mohamed Sherif, and Khaled Narey. With their roster finalized, no further transfers are expected this summer.
Al Okhdood: Representing Najran near the Yemen border, Al Okhdood has made its debut in the top division after consecutive promotions. Their new signings include Alex Collado, Leandre Tawamba, Florin Tanase, Solomon Kvirkvelia, Sebastian Pedroza, Paulo Vitor, Andrei Burca, and Ahmed Mostafa. With their foreign lineup revamped, they aim to maintain their position in the Saudi Pro League.
Al Hazem: Representing Ar Rass, Al Hazem returned to the top flight after a season in the second tier. Their new recruits include Aymen Dahmen, Toze, Faiz Selemani, Vina, Bruno Viana, and Muhammed Badamosi.
Al Riyadh: Al Riyadh, the capital’s fourth club, is back in the top flight after a relegation in 2004-05. Their new signings include Juanmi, Martin Campana, Knowledge Musona, Alin Tosca, Birama Toure, Dino Arslanagic, and Didier Ndong. They are currently scouting for a striker and have shown interest in Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting from Bayern Munich.