N’Golo Kante recently joined Cristiano Ronaldo and Karim Benzema in Saudi Arabia following the end of his Chelsea contract this summer.
This summer, several players have already committed to joining the Saudi Pro League, including Cristiano Ronaldo, Karim Benzema, and N’Golo Kante. Many more are anticipated to do the same.
Lionel Messi was expected to sign a lucrative contract in the Middle East as well, but instead flew to the United States and signed a two-and-a-half-year contract with Inter Miami.
Several Chelsea and Arsenal players have been approached by Saudi Arabian clubs, who are looking for more big names.
Hakim Ziyech, Edouard Mendy, and Kalidous Koulibaly are expected to leave Stamford Bridge for roughly £138.5 million, while Al Nassr, Al Ahli, and Al Khaleej are reportedly interested in Thomas Partey.
Wolves are also expected to benefit from the Saudi purchasing frenzy, with Al Hilal allegedly prepared to pay £47 million for Ruben Neves.
Neville has urged that the Premier League intervene after the Saudis upset the apple cart. The former Manchester United defender stated in an interview with BBC Sport:
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“The Premier League should put an instant embargo on transfers to Saudi Arabia to ensure the integrity of the game isn’t being damaged.
“Checks should be made on the appropriateness of the transactions. If it comes through that process, obviously transfers could open up again. But I do believe, at this moment in time, transfers should be halted until you look into the ownership structure at Chelsea and whether there are beneficial transfer dealings that are improper.”
The Saudi Arabian sovereign wealth fund, the Public Investment Fund, has made an investment in the Todd Boehly and Clearlake Capital consortium.
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Jordan Gardner, a former managing partner of a consortium that invested in Danish club FC Helsingor, spoke with The Athletic about the uncertainty.
“People are reading way too much into the connections between PIF, Clearlake and Boehly,” argued Gardner. “PIF is one of many, many investors in the entire portfolio of investments with Clearlake.
“At this level, there are many close relationships between various private-equity funds, sovereign-wealth funds and high-net-worth individuals. While the optics don’t look great, I’m sure this entirely comes down to existing relationships between these parties and has nothing to do with PIF’s investment in Clearlake. I don’t see any conflict of interest or conspiracy here whatsoever.”