Liverpool attacker Mohamed Salah and Manchester City playmaker Kevin De Bruyne reportedly top the Saudi Pro League’s transfer wishlist for the summer of 2024.
Following Cristiano Ronaldo‘s arrival at Al-Nassr over the winter, a plethora of established internationals – some in the prime of their careers – have followed the five-time Ballon d’Or winner to the Persian Gulf.
Alongside Al-Nassr, Saudi Pro League champions Al-Ittihad, Al-Ahli and Al-Hilal – the four teams backed by the Public Investment Fund – convinced the likes of Neymar, Karim Benzema, N’Golo Kante, Fabinho, Sadio Mane, Kalidou Koulibaly, Riyad Mahrez and Gabri Veiga to make the move to the Middle East.
Continuing their efforts to make the Saudi Pro League one of the most popular and marketable competitions on the globe, talkSPORT claims that Middle Eastern chiefs have already earmarked Salah and De Bruyne as their priority targets for next summer.
Liverpool winger Salah was already the subject of intense speculation surrounding a possible move to Al-Ittihad during the last knockings of the transfer window, having entered the final two years of his Reds deal.
Despite affirmations from Jurgen Klopp and Salah’s agent that the 31-year-old would not be leaving Merseyside, Al-Ittihad tried their luck with a £150m deadline-day bid, which was immediately rejected by the Reds.
There were murmurs of a world-record £200m bid being readied by the Saudi Pro League holders, who were able to sign players up until September 7, six days after the English transfer window closed for business.
Al-Ittihad apparently sent a delegation over to Merseyside in the hope of shaking hands on a nine-figure deal, but Salah ultimately stayed put with Liverpool, whom he has scored or assisted for in all seven appearances so far this term.
The former Chelsea man has four goals and four assists to his name in 2023-24 – netting a penalty in Sunday’s 3-1 win over West Ham United to become the first player to either score or assists in 12 successive Premier League games on two occasions.
Klopp cut a calm figure during Al-Ittihad’s relentless pursuit of Salah and does not expect to lose the Egyptian in January, but Nuno Espirito Santo‘s side will launch another move next summer.
Meanwhile, De Bruyne is believed to have rejected lucrative offers from Saudi Pro League sides to remain at Man City, but his 2023-24 season has been disrupted by a severe hamstring injury.
The Belgium international came off on the opening day of the season against Burnley, and there are fears that he will not be at Pep Guardiola‘s disposal until the middle of January at the earliest.
As is the case with Salah, De Bruyne’s contract at the Etihad runs until the summer of 2025, but City have supposedly placed renewal discussions on hold due to his injury.
Alongside Salah and De Bruyne, the report adds that Newcastle United striker Callum Wilson – whose own deal expires at the end of next season – is also being lined up for a Saudi switch in 2024.
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