The league has been growing at an insane rate, and this is mainly due to one reason – the money. Now, the Financial Times has reported how the Saudi Arabian wealth fund committed $2.3 billion to sponsorship deals, with most of this being directed towards the country’s domestic competitions.
But the Public Investment Fund (PIF) have also used this money to its advantage regarding the transfer market, as they have attracted numerous big names, including the likes of Neymar, Mane, Benzema, Kante, the list goes on.
These sudden transfers to the Saudi league seem to have caused controversy within the football community, as Toni Kroos wished to add his comments to the ongoing situation.
Kroos publicly voiced his frustrations when he learned that 21-year-old talent Gabri Veiga chose to move to Saudi Arabia over a once-in-a-lifetime move to Italian giants Napoli, labelling it as “embarrassing”.
The Real Madrid midfielder did not hold back there though as he went on to question footballer’s real love for the game, saying “In the end it’s a decision for money – and against football. And from there it starts to get difficult for the football we all know and love.”
Not only this, but he insisted that the country’s human rights record is enough of a reason for him to personally reject the idea of moving to Saudi Arabia, according to quotes in Sports Illustrated.
This does not appear to be a one-off though, as ex-pro footballer Andy Towensend openly criticised Jordan Henderson on his move to Al-Ettifaq. Townsend implied that the Liverpool legend’s move was purely money-motivated, stating “Without the money, you’re not going!”
“Without the money, you’re not going!” 💰
“He wouldn’t convince me that he’s gone for other reasons. He’s gone to fill his boots.”
Andy Townsend reacts to Henderson’s reasoning behind his Al-Ettifaq move. 🇸🇦 pic.twitter.com/28WzE2GYMS
— talkSPORT (@talkSPORT) September 5, 2023
Despite these views held against Jordan, he still strongly believes that playing in Saudi Arabia is a “positive thing” according to The Athletic, and further argued how he didn’t feel wanted by Liverpool anymore in talkSPORT.