Premier League teams braced for Saudi transfer raid on best players in January with Salah, Sancho and Son all targeted


SAUDI ARABIA have warned Premier League clubs they will come for their top players once more in January.

Michael Emenalo, the transfer chief for the disruptive Gulf state, says any additions in the next window will be strictly of the “highest level”.


Head of Saudi transfer recruitment Michael Emenalo has said that only players of the highest level will be targeted this JanauryCredit: Getty – Contributor
Mohamed Salah was the subject of a £150million bid in the summer


Mohamed Salah was the subject of a £150million bid in the summerCredit: AFP
Heung Min Son and Richarlison are also targets


Heung Min Son and Richarlison are also targetsCredit: Reuters

Saudi Pro League clubs forked out a staggering £784million on signings to build up their squads during the summer.

Almost 90 per cent of that spending was from state-backed clubs owned by the Public Investment Fund, who own Newcastle, with Karim Benzema, Neymar and Sadio Mane among the big names to join Cristiano Ronaldo in the SPL.

But Emenalo says from now on their business will not be as chaotic and only top level players will be targeted.

Liverpool star Mohammed Salah is the top priority after a £150million bid was rejected in the summer, but a move in January is unlikely.

Manchester United duo Jadon Sancho and Raphael Varane are also of interest while Tottenham pair Son Heung-min and Richarlison have been linked.

Asked about January signings in an in-house interview with SPL, Emenalo said: “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.

“I’m hoping it’s 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.

“And hopefully the attention will now turn to work within the training facilities to improve these players and to allow the time to adapt and perform.

Jadon Sancho might also be a target


Jadon Sancho might also be a targetCredit: Getty


“We accomplished what we wanted to accomplish [in the summer], 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.

“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.”

Emenalo has now been tasked with developing more homegrown talent ahead of Saudi Arabia hosting the World Cup in 2034, with the Kingdom controversially offering the only bid to Fifa.

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