Al-Ahli Nearing £20m Move for Atletico Madrid’s Marcos Llorente
The upcoming season for Atletico Madrid has hit a snag as Marcos Llorente’s departure to Saudi Arabia looms large. The midfielder, crucial to Diego Simeone’s plans, has been tempted by a highly lucrative offer from the cash-rich Kingdom, disrupting Atletico’s pre-season preparations.
In a summer marked by aggressive recruitment, Saudi Arabian clubs are actively targeting some of Europe’s finest players. Al-Ahli, in particular, is on the brink of a £20 million deal for the 28-year-old Llorente, as reported by The Athletic.
This season has been incredibly busy for Al-Ahli, securing signings like Edouard Mendy, Roberto Firmino, Riyad Mahrez, and Allan Saint-Maximin. Their aggressive approach has caused ripples in Europe’s top clubs, prompting calls for intervention from FIFA.
Liverpool’s Jurgen Klopp and Manchester City’s Pep Guardiola have both expressed concerns over the financial strength of the Saudi Pro League, as it attracts significant talent. Klopp urged FIFA to address the discrepancy in transfer window deadlines, which could disrupt European squads if Saudi clubs continue to make big-name signings.
The transfer window closes on September 1 for Europe’s top five leagues, while Saudi clubs have until September 20 to finalize deals. The timing mismatch could lead to further challenges for European teams if the Saudi Pro League continues its ambitious recruitment.
Guardiola noted the reality of Saudi Arabia’s league becoming a notable force and emphasized its appeal to players. He acknowledged the changing landscape of football, with Saudi Arabia emerging as a competitive market.
Al-Ahli has consistently been a major player this summer, potentially even disrupting Manchester United’s pursuit of Sofyan Amrabat. The club’s proactive approach and financial prowess have reshaped the transfer landscape, underlining the shift happening in global football.