Record-Breaking Transfer Spending in the Saudi Pro League

by | Sep 8, 2023 | Football

The Saudi Pro League concluded the mid-year transfer window last Thursday, and the teams competing in the 2023/24 Saudi Championship spent over 958.5 million euros on transfers. In other words, this amounts to more than 5.1 billion invested in reinforcements, setting a new record in the league’s history.

Al-Hilal stood out as the highest-spending Saudi club, spending over 353 million euros. Globally, only Chelsea exceeded this amount, with an investment of 464 million euros during the same transfer window.

It’s notable that three of the top 10 clubs in the world in terms of transfer spending belong to the Saudi Pro League. In addition to Al-Hilal, which plans to pay up to 100 million euros to Paris Saint-Germain for Neymar, we have Al-Ahli, where Roberto Firmino plays, and Al-Nassr, which boasts Cristiano Ronaldo and Sadio Mané.

When analyzing the transfer balance, which is the difference between revenues generated from sales and spending on acquisitions, Al-Hilal leads the global list. However, this leadership is negative, with a deficit of 351.7 million euros. In second place in this ranking is Al-Ahli, with a deficit of 200.9 million euros, as they did not generate revenue from player sales.

Worst balances in the 2023/24 summer transfer window:

Al-Hilal: -351.7 million euros
Al-Ahli: -200.9 million euros
Paris Saint-Germain: -200.5 million euros
Chelsea: -197.1 million euros
Arsenal: -167 million euros

Al-Ittihad, where Benzema and Fabinho play, ranks 17th in the global spending ranking, with a total of over 122.3 million euros in investments. The origin of this money is related to the government’s purchase of 75% ownership not only of Al-Ittihad but also of Al-Hilal, Al-Ahli, and Al-Nassr through the Saudi Arabian Sovereign Fund in June.

These four clubs together spent approximately 841.5 million euros during the transfer window, which represents almost 88% of the total spending in the Saudi Pro League. There are expectations that the Saudi government will also make similar investments in other league clubs in the future.

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