Fans worldwide have been taken aback by the large number of European players who have moved to Saudi Arabia during the current summer transfer window.

The trend started with Cristiano Ronaldo‘s transfer to Al-Nassr in the Saudi Pro League (SPL) following the 2022 World Cup.

During the current transfer window, several other notable players like Karim Benzema, N’Golo Kante, Riyad Mahrez, and Roberto Firmino have also moved to Saudi Arabia.

This week, notable signings include Sadio Mane from Bayern Munich, who joined Ronaldo’s side for a reported $33 million. Additionally, Al-Ettifaq made a significant move by signing the former Liverpool captain for $15.5 million.

$463m already splashed out on top players this summer

In the ongoing transfer window, Saudi Pro League clubs have emerged as significant spenders, surpassing the budgets of many leading European sides. According to Transfermarkt, the league’s collective spending has reached around $463 million.

Peter Hutton, a board member of the Saudi league, told the BBC that despite criticism, they would continue its extraordinary spending binge: “I think the budgets are in place for a number of years – you know, I don’t see this slowing down.”

spending spree is nothing compared to Premier League’s

Hutton, who has spent his whole career in the sports industry, also said that he had never before seen a venture as massive and forward-thinking as the Saudi League.

Moreover, the top executive clarified that the sums spent by Saudi Arabia are little compared to those that Premier League teams have spent this summer.

“I’ve worked in sport for 40 years and I’ve never seen a project as big, ambitious, and as determined to be a success. The investment from Saudi is remarkable. It’s certainly been a big acceleration.

“This doesn’t necessarily mean that Europe isn’t going to be as strong in world football going forward. But I would say that’s not necessarily a bad thing. It’s good that soccer has strength around the world.”

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