August 9 – Saudi authorities have no intention of halting their spending spree that has seen a host of big-name players move to the country from Europe.
The Saudi Pro League’s chief operating officer Carlo Nohra (pictured) says the current strategy is a long-term one with a view to attracting more and more fans to stadiums.
Saudi clubs have spent more than €400 million in the close season to sign players from Europe’s elite teams, including Ballon d’Or winner Karim Benzema from Real Madrid, former Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson and treble winner Riyad Mahrez from Manchester City.
The influx began just a few months after Al-Nassr signed Cristiano Ronaldo on a reported salary of more than $200 million a year in December.
The Saudi League season starts this weekend and Nohra told Reuters: “One of the very first objectives that the Saudi Pro League was set was to improve the product.
“We had to improve quality and in order to improve quality, you have to bring in the best. Spending was always going to be an essential component for us to do this.
“What you’re seeing is simply the Saudi Pro League doing what other leagues needed to do … We have joined these ranks, and we’re doing whatever it takes to improve quality on the pitch.”
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