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Michael Emenalo: Saudi Pro League clubs will target European stars in their prime this summer

The Saudi Pro League (SPL) is targeting European superstars in their prime years this summer, according to Chief Executive Officer Michael Emenalo.

Emenalo believes the SPL is a top product that can attract world-class players such as Erling Braut Haaland and Kylian Mbappe.

“Now whenever an opportunity comes up and one of those kinds of players that you mentioned are available, we will compete for them,” Emenalo said (via The Telegraph), referring to Mbappe when quizzed on the almost €1 billion bid for his signature last summer.

“This particular coming (transfer) window – if there’s an opportunity to spend significantly on someone that we think will bring exactly what we needed or what is needed, then we will do that.”

The SPL is also exploring creative ways to attract world-class stars and is prepared to take inspiration from the Lionel Messi to Inter Miami deal.

The Saudis thought they had a deal in place to take the 2022 World Cup winner, but he opted for a move to Miami, who offered him a stake in the club to join.

Saudi Pro League clubs will utilise these out-of-the-box avenues to secure their targets.

Among their summer targets are Manchester City pair Kevin De Bruyne and Ederson. The Belgian playmaker is in the final year of his contract, and the SPL is looking to advantage.

Ederson has been the pillar between the sticks for City during their dominant era but is also reportedly a target for the SPL this summer.

Liverpool duo Mohamed Salah and Alisson Becker are also on the SPL shortlist. Salah was the subject of a £200 million bid from Al-Ittihad last summer, and they are reportedly ready to return with another offer.

Alisson is the latest name on their radar, having established himself as one of Europe’s best goalkeepers, but the SPL will be looking to entice him away from Liverpool after seven years.

The SPL’s ambitious plans will shake up the transfer market. However, it will be intriguing to see whether the top players will be lured away from Europe’s top leagues.

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