Saudi Arabia has been in the headlines all year, but this time for its unprecedented investments in international sports.
The Gulf’s summer spending spree has almost come to an end, with a host of top names set to compete in the region.
In Qatar, the local football teams have made a few strides in signing global talent.
The Al-Arabi side has closed a deal on Marco Verratti and hopes to welcome the Paris Saint-Germain midfielder in the coming days.
The 30-year-old Italian will join a string of foreign players in Qatar, including Brazil’s Philippe Coutinho, Sengeal’s Abdou Diallo, and young football prodigy Seydou Sano.
Across the border, following the steps of Christiano Ronaldo, Saudi Arabia has inked the talents of several of football’s greatest talents, including Neymar Jr., Sadio Mane, Karim Benzema, N’Golo Kante and Algeria’s Riyad Mahrez.
The region’s surprising moves into the game have not only disturbed the footballing world but left some critiquing the changes happening in the scene.
Saudi Arabia’s 7 September deadline has riled up Liverpool head Jurgen Klopp, who warned that UEFA or FIFA should look into Saudi Arabia’s transfer window since it remains open for at least a week after the Premier Leagues.
“That’s something I think UEFA or whoever should have an eye on to solve that because we all have to protect the game, and we want to. We have to make sure with UEFA that these European leagues stay as strong as they are,” Klopp stated.
Regardless of personal opinions, Saudi Arabia’s multi-billion dollar football powerhouse bet has recast the footballing landscape and fueled the ambition of the Middle East to a new world order in the realm of sports.
All the done Saudi deals
Karim Benzema to Al-Ittihad on a three-year deal
Yassine Bounou to Al-Hilal on a three-year deal
Sadio Mane to Al-Nassr on a four-year deal
Aleksandar Mitrovic to Al-Hilal on a three-year deal
Otavio to Al-Nassr on a three-year deal
Aymeric Laporte to Al-Nassr on a three-year deal
Gabri Veiga to Al-Ahli on a three-year deal
N’Golo Kante to Al-Ittihad on a three-year deal
Ruben Neves to Al-Hilal on a three-year deal
Kalidou Koulibaly to Al-Hilal on a three-year deal
Edouard Mendy to Al-Ahli on a three-year deal
Marcelo Brozovic to Al-Nassr on a three-year deal
Seko Fofana to Al-Nassr on a three-year deal
Sergej Milinkovic-Savic to Al-Hilal on a three-year deal
Roberto Firmino to Al-Ahli on a three-year deal
Riyad Mahrez to Al-Ahli on a three-year deal
Alex Telles to Al-Nassr on a two-year deal
Jordan Henderson to Al-Ettifaq on a three-year deal
Neymar to Al-Hilal on a two-year deal
Fabinho to Al-Ittihad on a three-year deal