Saudi Pro League (SPL) clubs, having completed a substantial £784 million ($972 million) spending spree in the summer, are now focused on recruiting players of the “highest level” to join the ranks of Cristiano Ronaldo, Neymar, and Karim Benzema in January, according to SPL director of football Michael Emenalo.
As the January transfer window approaches, Saudi teams, including reigning champions Al Ittihad, have been linked to potential moves for players such as Manchester United’s Jadon Sancho and Raphaël Varane.
Al Ittihad is also expected to make a renewed effort to acquire Mohamed Salah, having seen a £150 million bid for the Liverpool forward rejected in September.
Additionally, there were reports of a lucrative offer from Saudi Arabian side Al Hilal for Napoli striker Victor Osimhen during the summer.
Emenalo, the former director of football for Chelsea and AS Monaco, emphasises that the era of Saudi clubs making multiple signings in a single transfer window is now behind them.
“Whatever additional improvement that we need to do for any club, with time on our hands and preparation, we believe will be additions of the highest level,” Emenalo said in an interview with the SPL.
“I’m hoping it [January] is not very busy, because I think the job that was done has been quite interesting and aggressive, and most of the clubs, I believe, have what they need.
“Hopefully the attention will now turn to work within the training facilities to improve these players and allow them time to adapt and perform.
“I think we accomplished what we wanted to accomplish, which was to get our foot into the market and compete aggressively. But, also, we wanted to do that while giving every single club in the league an opportunity to improve. I believe we accomplished that.
“And I believe that what you’re seeing, in terms of the quality of the games and the performance of most of the acquired international players, is a vindication that the transfer market has been relatively well. And we hope that we will continue to perfect our process in the future.”