Kevin De Bruyne and Robert Lewandowski are among the big names to have rejected approaches from Saudi Pro League sides this summer.
Saudi Arabia emerged as a major force in the transfer market during the summer with clubs from the Saudi Pro League spending more than £700m on new additions, with only the Premier League outspending the division among Europe’s major leagues.
The recruitment drives comes after the Saudi Public Investment Fund (PIF) announced it would take 75% ownership of the league’s four major clubs, Al-Ittihad, Al-Ahli, Al-Nassr and Al-Hilal, with the ambition to attract a host of top players to the league.
The big-name signings included Neymar, Karim Benzema and N’Golo Kante, who joined Cristiano Ronaldo in the Saudi Pro League after his move to Al-Nassr in January.
Al-Ittihad failed in a £150m bid to sign Mohamed Salah from Liverpool and Fabrizio Romano is reporting that Saudi sides made bids for multiple major names, including Manchester City midfielder Kevin De Bruyne and Barcelona striker Robert Lewandowski. Each turned down approaches in favour of remaining in Europe, as did Real Madrid defender David Alaba.
A total of 13 players swapped the Premier League for the Saudi Pro League, including Riyad Mahrez, Roberto Firmino, Edouard Mendy and Alain Saint-Maximin who all joined Al-Ahli.
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