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Premier League clubs banked a quarter of a billion pounds ($311.87 million) in transfer fees from the Saudi Pro League (SPL) this summer, with Rúben Neves‘ £47m move from Wolves to Al Hilal the biggest deal among a huge windfall for England’s top-flight teams.
With the Saudi transfer window closing at 10 p.m. BST on Sept. 7, a total of £767m had been spent by SPL clubs during their summer trading — second only to the record £2.36bn spent by Premier League teams.
The money received from Saudi teams was almost half of the £560m total earned by Premier League clubs for outgoing deals this summer.
Although Al Ittihad failed with a £150m bid for Liverpool‘s Mohamed Salah on the Premier League deadline day on Sept. 1, several English clubs cashed in by sealing big-money trades to Saudi Arabian teams.
Fulham raised £45m by offloading striker Aleksandar Mitrovic to Al Hilal while Liverpool received £52m following the exits of Fabinho to Al Ittihad (£40m) and former captain Jordan Henderson to Al Ettifaq (£12m).
Neymar‘s £77m move from Paris Saint-Germain to Al Hilal was the biggest transfer into the Saudi Pro League in a summer which saw 37 players from Europe’s big five leagues — England, Spain, France, Germany and Italy — sign for Saudi Arabian clubs.
“This marks the first time since 2016 that another international league has outspent any of Europe’s ‘big five’ during a football transfer window, with new players bringing the promise of new fans and partners to strengthen the SPL’s prominence,” Izzy Wray, of Deloitte Sports Business Group, said.
“European football continues to be the benchmark for the game globally, and the Saudi investment in the game will divert its focus towards the infrastructure, to elevate the level of Asian football.
“The SPL spending is still at one third of the Premier League’s gross spend this summer, the focus of Saudi clubs will now be on securing the success of the league’s transformation journey and its financial sustainability. The development of the league will depend on growing the professionalization and governance of clubs, the development of young playing talent and attracting a new, international fanbase.”