The Premier League has seen a movement of high-profile stars turning up and joining Saudi Arabia’s football revolution over the past year. Manchester United have so far played little part in the Saudi Pro League’s rise to prominence but they may have to fight back soon to avoid the transfer hammer blow.
Cristiano Ronaldo’s move to Al-Nassr just over a month after United terminated his contract was arguably the catalyst for the wave of big-name players taking their talents to the Middle East.
But the Red Devils were only directly involved in one transfer during the recent Saudi splurge, sending Telles to reunite with Ronaldo in Riyadh in the summer.
Saudi Pro League clubs are expected to be active again in 2024, and may stick to their main transfer strategy of targeting elite names who are leaving their prime years.
Bruno Fernandes is still performing close to the peak of his powers; his stunning winning goal against Fulham on Saturday showed as much.
However, the United captain is reportedly in the crosshairs of Saudi Arabia, putting the threat of Erik ten Hag losing one of his most influential stars in the second year of his project.
According to Sports hallthe Public Investment Fund (PIF) has already taken concrete steps to implement plans for the summer transfer window.
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And Fernandes has emerged as one of the main targets to add to the state’s elite player pool for the 2024/25 season.
The report goes so far as to claim that Saudi representatives are ready to contact the Fernandes camp to organize a meeting, where they will explore a possible major move.
Saudi Arabia have no new interest in Fernandes after the 29-year-old was poached this summer.
In July, Fabrizio Romano reported that Fernandes rejected multiple approaches to join the Saudi Pro League because he was only interested in United.
Ten Hag named him club captain later in the summer, replacing Harry Maguire, to highlight his importance in their long-term planning.
But United’s start to the season hasn’t gone as planned, with a regression from last term looking far more likely than progress.
Unless the Old Trafford giants’ fortunes improve, and they go without silverware or Champions League football, Fernandes’ head could be turned if the price is right.
However, there is no doubt that the Portuguese maestro is fully focused on United ahead of a tough series of fixtures in the coming weeks.
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