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Saudi Pro League Transfer News: Three stars who could already QUIT in January

Carlo Garganese
Jordan Henderson, England
© ProShots

In 2023, Saudi Arabia emerged as a new financial superpower when it comes to club football.

It is all part of a huge financial investment by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in not only football but sport in general. Golf and boxing have already witnessed massive investment and now it is football’s turn.

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In 2023, the Public Investment Fund (PIF) – Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund – which is overseen by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, took over four of the biggest clubs in the kingdom. These are the Riyadh-based Al Nassr and Al Hilal, and the Jeddah-based Al Ittihad and Al Ahli.

As a result these teams have a fortune to spend in the coming years. And many other Saudi teams are also splashing the cash.

This resulted in a host of the world’s best footballers moving to Saudi Arabia in 2023, including Cristiano Ronaldo, Karim Benzema, N’Golo Kante, Sergej Milinkovic-Savic, Riyad Mahrez, Sadio Mane, Neymar, and many more.

But while many of these stars have settled in to life to Saudi Arabia well, others have not.

Just over six months after joining, a number of well-paid footballers are already looking to leave Saudi Arabia.

Here are three players who could quit in January.

Jordan Henderson (Al Ettifaq)

Jordan Henderson joined Saudi Arabian side Al Ettifaq last summer for £12 million but, according to multiple reports, is already open to considering any offers the club receives in the current transfer window.

Henderson is said to be unsettled off the pitch while results on the field have not been good, either.

Al Ettifaq have not won a match since November, manager Steven Gerrard is under pressure while assistant boss Ian Foster recently resigned to take charge at newly promoted Championship side Plymouth Argyle.

Henderson has interest from a number of Premier League clubs, while even Bayern Munich are considering a move.

Roberto Firmino (Al Ahli)

Another Liverpool legend, Roberto Firmino has reportedly been ‘offered to several clubs’ just six months after arriving at Al-Ahli.

Firmino and Henderson were teammates at Liverpool
© ProShots – Firmino and Henderson were teammates at Liverpool

The Brazilian forward said an emotional farewell to Liverpoolin the summer after the expiration of his contract.

Despite a bright start that saw him net a hattrick on his debut, the 32-year-old’s time at Al-Ahli has been underwhelming, to say the least. In fact, he hasn’t scored a single goal since opening day.

So bad has Firmino been, he has only featured as a substitute in his last seven games despite being the club captain. Now, it is claimed that the forward has been offered to other clubs in a bid to offload him.

Turkish clubs are said to be interested in the Brazilian and, more intriguingly, so are promoted outfit Sheffield United.

Gabriel Veiga (Al Ahli)

Gabriel Veiga rejected Italian champions Napoli in order to join Al-Ahli in a €30m move in the summer of 2023.

While the majority of players targeted by the Saudi Pro League were established, high-reputation stars who were perhaps on the tail end of their careers, Veiga’s transfer was the first time a youngster had spurned European interest in exchange for the riches of the Middle East.

The 21-year-old had become a breakout star for Celta, scoring 11 times in La Liga last season and grabbing four assists, which led to interest from the likes of Chelsea, Barcelona and Liverpool.

However, despite improving in the last month or so, Veiga has had a miserable time in Saudi Arabia so far. He is reportedly unhappy off the pitch and already wants to return to Europe.

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