Saudi Arabia is spending big bucks to attract world famous soccer superstars this summer.
So far, Saudi clubs have mostly bought aging players past their prime, but this is different.
This time they want to sign 24-year-old star Kylian Mbappe and they’re prepared to spend more than $1.1 billion to make it happen.
The numbers attached to the proposed deal are mind-blowing.
Al-Hilal, a Riyadh-based club, are reportedly offering a whopping $332 million in the form of a transfer fee paid to PSG.
As forthe player, he’d receive a salary of $700 million (!) for just one year.
For the record, we should point out that both Al-Hilal and PSG are owned by state-sponsored investment funds.
Al-Hilal is one of many Saudi clubs owned by Saudi Arabia’s PIF (Public Investment Fund), and the Emir of Qatar owns PSG.
If the deal goes through, it’ll break at least two records.
It would be the most expensive soccer transfer in history and Mbappe would become the highest-paid athlete in the world.
This looks like the start of a summer telenovela.
There’s a lot of money involved but, according to pundits and transfer market experts, Mbappe is still determined to join Real Madrid this summer.
What’s going on in Saudi Arabia?
Saudi Arabia wants to host the 2030 FIFA World Cup and ultimately that’s why the country is investing so much money in soccer.
Cristiano Ronaldo opened the floodgates with his move to Al-Nassr and now Saudi Arabian clubs are attempting to sign players left and right, offering salaries that European clubs just can’t match.
A long list of world-famous players have joined the Saudi Pro League, from Ballon d’Or Winner Karim Benzema to former Liverpool veteran Roberto Firmino.
On the upside, this helps soccer attract new fans.
But on the downside, some fans are left disenchanted, and many aren’t too happy that players aren’t being honest about their motives.
With two exceptions, Odion Ighalo and Ruben Neves, no player has admitted to moving to Saudi for the money.
In fact, when Ruben Neves explained the salary was the big reason behind his move, fans praised him for saying the quiet part out loud.
“Big respect to the guy for being honest,” one user said.
“First player to be honest on a move to Saudi league,” another wrote.