Is it time to pack it in? It would seem so as the Saudi Pro League is aiming to change its focus and instead of spending big on many players, now is the time to focus on less spending and more impact.
As a way to get attention to the Saudi League and build brand awareness, in the last year the Saudi Pro League has spent a reported $1 billion on transfer fees.
Now Michael Emenalo, a former Chelsea and AS Monaco director of football, stated that the Saudi Pro League will be much more strategic on player signings, the current crop of big names have had their growing pains since arriving to the exotic league.
Saudi Pro League changing its spending approach
“Whatever additional improvement that we need to do for any club, with time on our hands and preparation, we believe will be additions of the highest level,” Emenalo stated in an interview done by the league.
“I’m hoping it [January] is not very busy, because I think the job that was done has been quite interesting and aggressive, and most of the clubs, I believe, have what they need. Hopefully the attention will now turn to work within the training facilities to improve these players and to allow the time to adapt and perform.”
The comment from Emenalo is a positive sign as to many the Saudi Pro League was just a new money-making destination, now the powers at be, want a long term lasting effect.
“I think we accomplished what we wanted to accomplish, which was to get our foot into the market and compete aggressively. But, also, we wanted to do that while giving every single club in the league an opportunity to improve. I believe we accomplished that.
“And I believe that what you’re seeing, in terms of the quality of the games and the performance of most of the acquired international players, is a vindication that the transfer market has been relatively well. And we hope that we will continue to perfect our process in the future.”
Stars of the Saudi Pro League
The SPL has some of the most recognizable stars in world football, CR7, Neymar, Benzema, Jordan Henderson, N’golo Kanté, and Roberto Firmino.