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Five players the Saudi Pro League want to bring over other than Lionel Messi

Ryan Sidle

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Five players the Saudi Pro League want to bring over other than Lionel Messi

Saudi Arabian football could soon be inviting an influx of players from the Premier League, as they target more high profile signings to follow Cristiano Ronaldo.

Back in January, Ronaldo abandoned everything he'd previously said about wanting to continue in Europe and play at the highest level, in order to move to Saudi Arabia.

It's no wonder considering he was reportedly offered £173 million to go to the Middle East, and join Al Nassr, making him the world's highest paid athlete.

Whilst helping his bank balance, the move was considered by many as a huge downgrade, both in the level or club and league he was now playing in.

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Inevitably, Ronaldo's move to Al Nassr has led to speculation that old rival Messi could one day join him in that part of the world, with the country hoping to improve their standing in the game, before a bid for the 2030 World Cup.

There could be a change in the country's law just to allow the seven time Ballon d'Or winner to follow Ronaldo's footsteps in the country, in order to match the striker's wages.

However, things would be less complicated if they went shopping at a level below Ronaldo and Messi, more in the Aldi section of top tier footballers.

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According to ESPN, Liverpool's Roberto Firmino, Manchester City's Ilkay Gundogan, Wolverhampton Wanderers winger Adama Traore and Everton duo Yerry Mina and Abdoulaye Doucoure are all targets for the league this summer.

Firmino is leaving Liverpool at the end of this season. Image: Alamy
Firmino is leaving Liverpool at the end of this season. Image: Alamy

Firmino is leaving Liverpool this summer, after eight years at the Anfield club, when his contract expires at the end of the current campaign.

He would be a huge name for the Saudis to bring in to the Pro League, and would be a massive boost to the reputation of their top tier, as would any of the other players.

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The Brazilian, however, has also been linked with a move to Real Madrid, where he could join up with Karim Benzema, along with fellow countrymen Vinicius Junior and Rodrygo in the forward positions.

Benzema is also on a list of players that are being targeted from around Europe, although the 2022 Ballon d'Or winner could yet remain at Real beyond his current deal expiring in the summer.

A source told ESPN, "This won't be like the Chinese league a few years ago. It isn't a fire-hose strategy of blowing huge sums of money.

"...this isn't about trying to sign the top 50 players in the world. It is about raising the quality and profile of the league and making it the first-choice destination outside of the big leagues in Europe."

Featured Image Credit: Alamy

Topics: Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo, Roberto Firmino, Saudi Arabia, Al Nassr, Saudi Pro League, Transfers

Ryan Sidle
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