Players like Cristiano Ronaldo, Jordan Henderson, and Karim Benzema are just the beginning of the Saudi Pro League.
One of the league’s top administrators has said that the Saudi Pro League’s “remarkable” spending binge on players will continue.
British director Peter Hutton, who sits on the league’s board, has remarked, “I think the budgets are in place for a number of years – you know, I don’t see this slowing down.”
Since Cristiano Ronaldo, winner of five Ballon d’Or awards, moved to the Scottish Premier League in January from Manchester United, the league has attracted some of the sport’s biggest names.
Prominent players from teams like Chelsea, Manchester City, and Bayern Munich are among them, as is former Real Madrid attacker Karim Benzema and former Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson.
Furthermore, Al-Hilal offered a record £259 million for PSG striker Kylian Mbappe last month.
Having held executive positions at Eurosport, ESPN, IMG, and Facebook, Hutton remarked, “I’ve worked in sport for 40 years, and I’ve never seen a project as big, as ambitious, and as determined to be a success.”
In a wide-ranging interview for BBC Radio 5 Live’s special “The Saudi Story,” he told BBC sports editor Dan Roan that he didn’t think it was “necessarily a bad thing” if European football wasn’t as powerful as it has been.
Hutton also provided some perspective, adding, “it has got the world of sport talking but it’s a quarter or a fifth of what Premier League clubs have spent this summer.”
Pep Guardiola, manager of City, has claimed that the financial might of the Saudi Pro League has “changed the market” for transfers and that elite teams “need to be aware of what’s happening,” while Jurgen Klopp, manager of Liverpool, has raised concern over the lateness of the transfer window in Saudi Arabia.
With a total of 409m euros (£352m), Scottish Premier League clubs have spent more than the 254m euros (£218m) spent by La Liga clubs in Spain this summer. At 1.37 billion euros (£1.17 billion), the Premier League is far ahead of the pack.
When asked how much of a threat the SPL poses to the established powers in football, Hutton stated, “The investment from Saudi is remarkable.” There has been a significant quickening of pace.
This doesn’t necessarily portend a decline in Europe’s global football dominance in the future. However, that’s not something I think is necessarily a terrible thing. It’s fantastic that football is so popular in so many different countries.