The Saudi Pro League is dominating the 2023 summer transfer window with rumours that big-name stars will flock to Saudi Arabia. Cristiano Ronaldo started the trend, of course, taking an enormous contract at the start of the year to play for Al-Nassr.

Things are really starting to ramp up, however, and Football FanCast takes you through the latest news and rumours...

Why are players moving to the Saudi Pro League?

So why has there been a sudden rise in transfer activity in this part of the world? Essentially, it comes down to investment from the Saudi Arabian Public Investment Fund, or PIF. You'll have heard a lot about it when PIF purchased Newcastle United, of course.

Well, the same fund has purchased majority stakes in Al-Hilal, Al-Nassr, Al-Ahli and Al-Ittihad. The former two are the biggest clubs in Riyadh, the capital of Saudi Arabia. The latter two are the biggest in Jeddah, the country's second-largest city. All four now have incredible wealth behind them and are looking to make waves.

Which footballers have joined the Saudi Pro League?

A steady stream of players have followed in Ronaldo's footsteps by ditching European football for a go at the Saudi Pro League. And as the following list of players shows, there seems to be no sign of it stopping following the official start of the transfer window.

So who has decided to make the move so far? Here's a rundown of the high-profile transfers and the latest moves from the Saudi clubs:





Karim Benzema

Real Madrid



N'Golo Kante




Ruben Neves




Edouard Mendy




Kalidou Koulibaly








Marcelo Brozovic




Roberto Firmino




Sergej Milinkovic-Savic




Seko Fofana

RC Lens



Alex Telles

Man United



Jordan Henderson




Riyad Mahrez

Man City







Sadio Mane

Bayern Munich



Allan Saint-Maximin


Al Ahli


Fabinho - Liverpool to Al-Ittihad


Liverpool have sold Brazilian midfielder Fabinho to Al-Ittihad for around £40m. This one appeared stuck for a little while, with talks actually collapsing at one stage over payment details. Essentially, the Reds wanted more guaranteed or upfront.

That was sorted fairly quickly, however, allowing Fabinho to move. He brings an end to his five-year stay at Anfield to link up with the likes of Karim Benzema.

Sadio Mané - Bayern Munich to Al-Nassr


Mané was the big transfer into the Bundesliga last season as he left Liverpool after a wildly successful spell. But things didn't work out.

They went so badly, in fact, that Bayern were actively hoping to sell this summer and Al-Nassr's offer bailed them out somewhat. Mané moves to Ronaldo's club, then, where he'll come up against a growing selection of former Liverpool teammates.

Allan Saint-Maximin - Newcastle to Al-Ahli


This one did feel a little like Newcastle's owners selling to themselves, but in the end, there isn't much to criticise about this deal. Saint-Maximin fell out of favour under Eddie Howe, though it wasn't too long ago that he was one of the most exciting players in the Premier League.

He now heads to the Saudi Pro League where he'll link up with Roberto Firmino and Edouard Mendy. A decent team growing there, then.

What are the latest Saudi Pro League rumours?

There are a lot of rumours about potential arrivals in Saudi Arabia right now. Here's an attempt to round them all up - but it feels impossible to grab them all. You may well find yourself linked in a national newspaper by the end of the week.

Don't be surprised if the following players take the plunge...

Franck Kessié - Barcelona to Al-Ahli


Franck Kessié simply hasn't had things work out at Barcelona after moving there on a free transfer last year. He felt at the time like an ideal signing, but he's now set to move on and join the Saudi revolution.

The Athletic claims the deal with Al-Ahli will cost roughly £13m and is a long time in coming. Initial talks completely collapsed and only kicked on again once Barca were back from their pre-season tour. This one is near completion, though - expect Kessié to complete a deal soon.

Willian - Fulham to Al-Shabab


What a bizarre one this is. Willian had plenty of options this summer as his Fulham contract ended - but he decided to remain with the Cottagers. He signed a new deal and was all set to continue there.

That was two weeks ago. Now he's got an offer from Al-Shabab and wants Fulham to accept. Fabrizio Romano even claims personal terms have been agreed.

Marcos Llorente - Atletico Madrid to Al-Ahli


A rare one here as a player in the prime of his career could make the move out to the Middle East. Llorente is a notable name in European football - and a player who could play for just about anyone. But there's increasing talk that he's on his way to Al-Ahli.

Journalist Nabil Djellit claims the Saudi side are increasingly confident about completing a deal this summer.

Aleksandar Mitrovic - Fulham to Al-Hilal

Aleksandar Mitrovic celebrates for Fulham

Fulham certainly didn't want to sell Mitrovic this summer but things became difficult once he learned Al-Hilal would triple his wages. That's the line from the Evening Standard, amongst others, as the Cottagers stand firm on a £50m price.

It remains to be seen if Al-Hilal will pay that, but what's clear is that Mitrovic's head has been turned. This one was some way to run, but expect some sort of fallout one way or another.

Kylian Mbappé - Paris Saint-Germain to Al-Hilal


The biggest transfer story of the summer - and it might be over already. PSG want to sell Kylian Mbappé this summer, with his contract expiring next year. Saudi Pro League side Al-Hilal then approached them with a world-record offer of around £240m.

The thing is, though, Mbappé seemingly wants to sign for Real Madrid in 2024. That makes the offer from Al-Hilal look ridiculous if it was for just one year of football, right? Especially if they were to then offer him a minimum of £200m in wages for that one year, with up to £700m depending on image rights.

And yet, that's what they've done. One year, up to £1bn in cost. Mbappé, though, isn't interested and, per The Guardian, has rejected the offer without even holding talks. This isn't about money, it seems, but we'll just have to see what happens next.

Marco Verratti - Paris Saint-Germain to Al-Hilal


Well, if Al-Hilal can't get Mbappé, they'll try for his teammate instead. Fabrizio Romano claims Verratti has accepted a three-year contract already and wishes to head to Saudi Arabia.

However, PSG won't accept the £30m bid put to them. They'll want more, but the suggestion here is that 'more' is indeed on its way soon. This one could move fast.

Thomas Partey - Arsenal to Unknown


Fabrizio Romano understands there is still interest from Saudi Arabia in Partey - but no bid has been enough to trigger a sale. In fact, Romano claims there were approaches from Saudi clubs just days ago.

As long as those approaches fall short of the £40m valuation by Arsenal, though, Partey isn't going anywhere soon. Mikel Arteta is happy to have him around as things stand, so we'll wait and see.

Luis Díaz - Liverpool to Al-Hilal

Liverpool winger Luis Diaz

Portuguese outlet Record claims that there's a £40m bid on the table for Liverpool to consider. Of course, it's highly unlikely that the Reds accept it - Díaz arrived for around that fee 18 months ago and has been incredible ever since.

This would truly be the most shocking transfer of the lot, so we wouldn't recommend you hold your breath.

Thiago - Liverpool to Unknown

Liverpool's Thiago Alcantara

The Athletic reports that an unnamed Saudi club have made an offer for Thiago. The Spaniard has rejected the approach, though, and wants to remain with Liverpool.

But this one isn't over. There will be at least one more bid and the Reds are willing to listen - unlike Henderson, Thiago is entering the final year of his deal.

Hakim Ziyech - Chelsea to Al-Nassr


Ziyech was due to move to Al-Nassr to play with Cristiano Ronaldo next season, though it has recently been reported that an issue in his medical has thrown a spanner in the works.

Other reports claim it was personal terms that saw the move collapse, but it leaves the Moroccan still seeking a Chelsea exit having seen a move to Paris Saint-Germain fall through in the winter.

He would be the latest Blues player to move to the region, and the raft of Chelsea players seemingly off to Saudi Arabia has even sparked a conspiracy - prompting an investigation by The Athletic to work out just what could be behind this, as concerns rise that the state is effectively funding the club.

Saúl - Atletico Madrid to Al-Nassr


Saúl appears set to leave Atletico Madrid permanently this summer and Al-Nassr want him at their club. Romano, once again, understands this one is close. The 28-year-old, briefly of - you guessed it - Chelsea, only made 11 La Liga starts last term so could be looking to move for more regular game time, and Al-Nassr may just offer him a way out.

Bernardo Silva - Manchester City to Unknown


The Athletic claims that the Pro League want Bernardo Silva, who is widely rumoured to be leaving City this summer. They describe it as 'one of the most ambitious moves yet' from the league. There isn't a club attached to the talk, however, and it appears Silva would almost have his pick. But the report also understands that he'll likely reject any move to Saudi Arabia in favour of staying in Europe.

Alvaro Morata - Atletico Madrid to Al-Hilal


This comes from the Daily Mail. It reports that Al-Hilal are ready to sign Alvaro Morata and would offer Atletico around £20m to get it done. As for the player, the Spanish striker would earn £40m per year if he made the move to the Middle East.

Morata has changed clubs frequently over the course of his career, winning just about everything he possibly can at club level. He's also a former Chelsea player, and we know how much Saudi Arabian clubs seem to love that.

The Spaniard is widely expected to move on this summer, but there weren't previously any suggestions of a move to Saudi Arabia. As we're learning this summer, though, every big-name player appears to be a target.

Callum Hudson-Odoi - Chelsea to Unknown


Fabrizio Romano previously reported that Callum Hudson-Odoi is under discussion at two Saudi clubs.

But we should say that no one is sure that Hudson-Odoi would be up for the move. After all, it wasn't too long ago that he was a target of Bayern Munich & Liverpool and tipped to be the future of England's attack. A transfer to the Middle East would signify quite a drop-off for the youngster, who spent last season on loan with Bayer Leverkusen.

We'll just have to wait and see what he decides, though it seems Fulham could be offering the winger his next move.