The New York Times has reported that there is a coordinated effort by Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund to lure top players in the world to join the country’s league.

After Cristiano Ronaldo joined Al Nassr late last year, Saudi have now drawn up a list and secured finances to draw players to join the national league.

Funded by the Kingdom’s huge wealth fund with support at the highest levels, the country’s national league aims to turn into a destination for top talent for players across the globe.

Global superstars in sights

Saudi clubs have reportedly reached out to the sport’s biggest superstars offering more than $1 Billion in wages while drawing up the biggest contracts known in sports history.

After Ronaldo’s arrival, the league has considered coordinating and securing more high-profile signings and distributing talents evenly across the big teams.

It is believed that consultants have been hired to execute the project and the New York Times reports that they obtained information from Saudi Sports officials, agents, and television executives who spoke to them on the condition of anonymity.

Messi could be set to join the league

Saudi league’s chief executive, who briefly ran Manchester City has been tasked with executing the plans. There have been reports over the past few weeks that the next high-profile signing would be World Cup winner Lionel Messi who as per the Daily Mail has a £ 2 billion deal with Al-Hilal on the table.

The report also claims the deal will be announced on Tuesday, referencing reports in Spain and Saudi.  However, the Argentine’s decision is unknown as he prefers to stay in Europe with a return to Barcelona looking likely.

Karim Benzema is also set to join Al Ittihad with a bumper contract of €400 million in a two-year deal. The Frenchman will follow in Ronaldo’s footsteps should he make the move.

Saudi’s project is said to be fueled by the desire of increasing the country’s influence on the sport and boost its profile as one of the bidders for the 2030 World Cup.

Photo credit: IMAGO / Power Sport Images