The Saudi Pro League is on a mission to land some big-name out-of-contract players to boost the country’s chances of hosting the 2030 World Cup.
Veteran players approaching the end of their contracts have been the primary targets to date, but the Saudis may diversify their approach in the future.
With that in mind, we look at some of the top stars whose deals expire in 2024, starting with a player who has often been the subject of transfer speculation in the past.
Sergej Milinkovic-Savic – Lazio
Milinkovic-Savic has long been linked with a move to the Premier League and is once again being tipped to head to England this summer.
However, with Lazio securing a place in next season’s Champions League, the midfielder may decide to stay for the remaining year of his contract.
While he does not quite fit the veteran age profile of other Saudi transfer targets, he would undoubtedly be a statement signing for their league.
Jorginho – Arsenal
With Arsenal in the market for midfield reinforcements this summer, Jorginho may become surplus to requirements at the Emirates Stadium.
There is no guarantee it will happen, particularly with Granit Xhaka set to exit the club to sign for Bundesliga club Bayer Leverkusen.
Jorginho will be approaching his 33rd birthday next summer and the opportunity to line his pockets with a bumper Saudi payday could be too tempting to ignore.
Alvaro Morata – Atletico Madrid
Morata is reportedly happy to extend his contract with Atletico Madrid, but the club want him to take a pay cut before they will rubber-stamp a deal.
The 30-year-old has attracted interest from several Serie A clubs, but none of them can match his current annual salary.
Saudi Pro League clubs face no such issues, and Morata is precisely the type of player they will target over the coming months.
Thiago Alcantara – Liverpool
Touted as a midfield difference-maker when he joined Liverpool in 2020, Thiago has largely failed to live up to expectations.
The 32-year-old has been hampered by injuries and may decide his fragile body cannot cope with the rigours of elite-level football.
A big-money switch to the calmer waters of the Saudi Pro League next summer would make perfect sense, given that Liverpool are unlikely to extend his contract.
Thomas Muller – Bayern Munich
Muller has fallen down the pecking order at Bayern Munich under manager Thomas Tuchel, sparking talk he could be on his way out of the club this summer.
He reportedly has offers from Major League Soccer and the Saudi Pro League but believes he can still do a job in European football.
However, the 33-year-old’s options are limited and a bumper Saudi payday may be his best bet next summer.
Callum Wilson – Newcastle United
With Newcastle now under Saudi ownership, it would be no surprise to see the link-up cemented by one of their players moving to the Pro League.
Wilson is the prime candidate, particularly with the club expected to strengthen their forward ranks during the summer transfer window.
If Wilson falls down the pecking order at St James’ Park, a lucrative move to Saudi Arabia could be an enticing option next summer.
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