Premier League clubs are planning to urge FIFA to change the transfer deadline for Saudi Arabia, as they fear losing their star players to the lucrative Saudi Pro League after the European window closes. The Saudi transfer window is due to close on September 7, six days after Europe’s top leagues, including the Premier League.
The Saudi Pro League has emerged as a major player in the transfer market this summer, spending over £350 million on new players, the fifth-highest outlay of any league in the world. Some of the big names that have moved to Saudi Arabia include Jordan Henderson and Fabinho from Liverpool, and Riyad Mahrez from Manchester City.
The Premier League clubs are concerned that their players could be tempted by huge offers from Saudi Arabia next month when they will not be able to sign replacements. Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp and Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola have both voiced their worries over the difference between the two deadlines.
According to the Daily Mail, the Premier League clubs will ask the FA to make a formal request to FIFA to bring forward the Saudi transfer deadline to September 1 in order to align it with the rest of Europe. FIFA is in charge of managing the international transfer system in consultation with the national associations.
While the Premier League clubs have already agreed to move the Saudi Football Federation's transfer deadline from September 20 to September 7 this year, the Saudi Football Federation insists on complete harmonization. The Saudi Pro League is eager to cooperate with the sports' current organizational frameworks and could be open to such a request.
The issue is expected to be raised at the first shareholders meeting of the new season next month when the Premier League clubs will discuss their strategy and concerns. The Premier League will also scrutinize transfers to Saudi Arabia under its new Fair Market Value rules, which require all transfers to be representative of each player's value.