Neville calls for ‘instant PL embargo on transfers to Saudi Arabia’ as Chelsea look to earn ‘upwards of £50m’

Neville calls for ‘instant PL embargo on transfers to Saudi Arabia’ as Chelsea look to earn ‘upwards of £50m’

Gary Neville thinks there should be “an instant embargo on transfers to Saudi Arabia to ensure the integrity of the game” as Chelsea look to sell a number of players to the Middle Eastern country.

Transfer expert Fabrizio Romano confirmed today that Chelsea trio Hakim Ziyech, Kalidou Koulibaly and Edouard Mendy will all be moving to the Saudi Pro League this summer.

Callum Hudson-Odoi and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang are among the other names potentially on their way to Saudi Arabian clubs with a report in the Daily Telegraph claiming that Chelsea ‘could earn upwards of £50 million in transfer fees and save millions on wages’ by selling to the second-largest nation in the Arab world.

Wolves’ Ruben Neves and Arsenal’s Thomas Partey are two more players being linked to the Saudi league with their targets, some in the prime of their career, showing the ambition of the nation to increase the popularity of their game.

Cristiano Ronaldo, Karim Benzema and N’Golo Kante are high-profile players to have already made the leap from top European leagues and former Manchester United defender is worried about the impact it could have on the Premier League and wider game.

“The Premier League should put an instant embargo on transfers to Saudi Arabia to ensure the integrity of the game isn’t being damaged,” Neville told BBC Sport.

“Checks should be made on the appropriateness of the transactions.

READ MORE: Fans too divided to stop PIF, Qatar, private equity from conquering football’s soul…

“If it comes through that process, obviously transfers could open up again. But I do believe, at this moment in time, transfers should be halted until you look into the ownership structure at Chelsea and whether there are beneficial transfer dealings that are improper.”

CBS Sports reporter Ben Jacobs has claimed there are currently “over 20 active talks with European players by Saudi dealmakers” as he explains the current state of play.

Jacobs told Caught Offside: “All kinds of star names are being linked to the Saudi Pro League and there are over 20 active talks with European players by Saudi dealmakers.

“At the time of writing, Hakim Ziyech (Al-Nassr), Kalidou Koulibaly (Al-Hilal) and Edouard Mendy (Al-Ahli) are closing in on transfers. And N’Golo Kante has already signed for Al-Ittihad. Chelsea will be delighted to get so many outgoings done early, although I don’t any of the fees will be crazy. The expectation is Chelsea will make a loss on the players.

“William Carvalho to Al-Nassr is also looking likely and Ruben Neves will join Al-Hilal in a deal worth €55m. This is a huge coup for the league because he’s only 26 and spoke of wanting to leave Wolves for Champions League football.

“Bernardo Silva is a concrete target, but it is not thought he wants to leave Europe just yet. And there is low confidence Son Heung-min will move in 2023 to Al-Ittihad. Son is a genuine target, but Spurs don’t want to sell. It’s likely one to watch in 2024 unless anything dramatic changes.

READ MORE: A player from each Premier League side who could be palmed off on PIF and Saudi Pro League

“Saudi dealmakers also recently travelled to Paris to explore a deal for Neymar but he also prefers to stay in Europe. It will be interesting to see if Enrique’s expected arrival at the Parc des Princes impacts Neymar’s future. PSG are very open to a sale, but Enrique may have other ideas.

“Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund, PIF, who also own Newcastle, control four of the biggest clubs: Al-Nassr, Al-Hilal, Al-Ahli and Al-Ittihad and are the dealmakers for many major transfers. They want around 20 elite names and over 50 signings in total. The aim is to create rivalries in Riyadh and Jeddah with global appeal. And next season English-speaking TV rights will be sold.

“Of course, Clubs can still make their own signings, but PIF help drive many of the important ones and often pick the final destination providing there is player buy in.
“The Saudis have agents on the case focused on all the big leagues. This is quite atypical and sometimes means player agents are aware of deals a bit later because the clubs are being approached first. This tactic allows dealmakers to go for multiple players hence why so many Chelsea stars can be targeted in one swoop, even though they are all off to different clubs.”


Video EXPLAINED: Why Chelsea players are moving to Saudi Arabia?! 🔵🇸🇦

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