The top flight in Saudi Arabia has emerged as a major player in the race to sign the best footballers in Europe’s top leagues during this summer’s transfer window.

The Saudis have seized control of the market with the help of their $620 billion Public Investment Fund (PIF). Al-Hilal made history by offering the highest transfer fee ever for Paris Saint-Germain forward Kylian Mbappe after Lionel Messi snubbed them for Inter Miami.

In the meanwhile, several high-profile players have signed with teams in the Kingdom this summer. Some of those include Karim Benzema, Roberto Firmino, N’Golo Kante, Edouard Mendy, Riyad Mahrez, Jordan Henderson and more.

In only a few short months, soccer in the nation went from being largely unnoticed to receiving intense media coverage. Back in May, Cristiano Ronaldo predicted that the Saudi league will soon be among the world’s top five. It seems the Portuguese star was spot on.

Footballers moving to Saudi Arabia this summer

Although foreign players have been used in the Saudi Pro League before, the arrival of Cristiano Ronaldo to Al-Nassr in January shifted attention to the league. After then, no Saudi Arabian team would turn down a player because of his lofty expectations or because of his superior talent.

The Public Investment Fund (PIF) of the Kingdom currently owns four teams. It means that those clubs are free to spend as much money as they want without worrying about any kind of financial parity.

Many European stars joined Ronaldo in the Middle East

Notable newcomers to the Saudi Pro League include Edouard Mendy, Roberto Firmino, and Riyad Mahrez for Al-Ahli; Malcolm, Kalidou Koulibaly, and Sergej Milinkovic-Savic for Al-Hilal.

There are also N’Golo Kante, Karim Benzema, and Jota for Al-Ittihad, while Jordan Henderson has become the most popular addition to Al-Ettifaq. Marcelo Brozovic teamed up with Ronaldo, while Sadio Mane is set to join them as well.

The Saudi transfer window commenced on July 1 and will end on September 20; here is a complete list of all the notable players that have joined the Saudi Pro League during that time.

Player NameClubFeeJoined
Riyad MahrezAl Ahli$38.6mJuly, 2023
Jordan HendersonAl Ettifaq$15.6mJuly, 2023
MalcomAl Hilal$66.9mJuly, 2023
Romain SaissAl-Sadd$2.8mJuly, 2023
Alex TellesAl NassrFreeJuly, 2023
Seko FofanaAl Nassr$27.8mJuly, 2023
Sergej Milinkovic-SavicAl Hilal$44.6mJuly, 2023
Roberto FirminoAl AhliFreeJuly, 2023
Marcelo BrozovicAl Nassr$19.6mJuly, 2023
JotaAl Ittihad$31.7mJuly, 2023
Edouard MendyAl Ahli$20.2mJune, 2023
Karim BenzemaAl IttihadFreeJune, 2023
N’Golo KanteAl IttihadFreeJune, 2023
Ruben NevesAl Hilal$60mJune, 2023
Kalidou KoulibalyAl Hilal$20mJune, 2023