JiLiHOT Daily, Analysis. This transfer window is different from previous ones, as the media and fans’ attention is not solely focused on European competitions, but also a significant portion has turned towards the Saudi Arabian league. Cristiano Ronaldo, who became the league ambassador after joining Al Nassr last year, has been dedicated to promoting Saudi Arabian football and attracting players from the top five leagues through his charm. This transfer window has seen the arrival of prominent players in the Saudi Arabian league, starting from Ballon d’Or winner Karim Benzema, followed by Chelsea’s N’Golo Kanté, Koulibaly, and Mendy. Manchester City captain Ilkay Gündogan is also set to join soon. These developments indicate a promising future for the Saudi Arabian league, which sets it apart from the money-driven Chinese Super League.
Football in Saudi Arabia is a nationally prioritized project, with funding coming from the Public Investment Fund (PIF). As Saudi Arabia looks to transition from its long-standing dependence on black gold, i.e., oil, the country must shift its economic focus, and sports have become a significant interest for the Crown Prince. Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman announced the launch of sports investment and privatization projects, transferring 75% of the shares of the four major football clubs to the PIF, while the remaining shares are held by non-profit foundations of each club. The Saudi Arabian league is not monopolized by these four major clubs, which distinguishes it from the Chinese Super League. Resources are distributed in the name of national development, and Saudi Arabia is more thorough in implementing this approach.
With domestic capital support, Saudi Arabia has launched an ambitious economic plan and is preparing to bring in 20 top-class players this summer. The four major clubs, Al Hilal, Al Nassr, Al Ittihad, and Al Ahli, will each acquire two players, while the remaining 12 will be allocated to other clubs. The total budget for player salaries reaches an astonishing $1 billion. The Saudi teams are committed to achieving balanced development among all clubs, as they strive for collective strength.
According to JiLiHOT Daily reports, the Saudi Arabian league’s approach ensures the competitiveness and entertainment value of the league. After all, we have seen the consequences of a single dominant team in leagues like the Bundesliga and Ligue 1, where it diminishes the overall excitement. Saudi Arabia, without much reputation or influence, has made the right move in attracting attention. As for whether Saudi Arabia can develop into the 5th or 6th largest football event in the world, as Ronaldo has stated, it is entirely possible and even more so than the Chinese Super League. Saudi Arabia’s advantage lies in its financial resources and influential figures. As an oil-rich nation, their spending power is evident in this transfer window. Additionally, over 65% of the Saudi population is under the age of 30, and their plan to have experienced veterans guide young talents is a part of their long-term strategy. Let us look forward to the future of Saudi Arabian football together.