Saudi Arabia PIF not willing to pay £50m for player

Saudi Arabia PIF not willing to pay £50m for player

On 7 October 2021, the Saudi Arabia PIF (Public Investment Fund) bought 80% of Newcastle United, with the Reuben family and Amanda Staveley owning 10% each.

Yasir Al-Rumayyan is the Governor of the Saudi Arabia PIF and also became Newcastle United’s Chairman, as he is with many of the PIF’s investments around the world.

Then as part of their Saudi Vision 2030 (A strategic plan to reduce Saudi Arabia’s reliance on oil, diversify its economy, and develop public sectors such as health, education, infrastructure, recreation, and tourism), the Saudi Arabia PIF (which is the main driver of the Saudi Vision 2030 project) have increased their investment in golf, their LIV Golf initiative now leading a new structure that oversees the major tours around the world.

June 2023 then saw another big sporting initiative from the Saudi Arabia PIF / Saudi Vision 2030, as huge investment was announced in the local Saudi football league.

They announced that their goal is to turn the league into one of the top ten football leagues in the world, while also tripling its market value.

To try and achieve that, the Saudi Arabia PIF would be taking 75 per cent stakes in the four biggest clubs in the Saudi Pro League—Al Nassr, Al Hilal, Al Ittihad, and Al Ahli, before the 2023/24 season. A non-profit organisation to own the remaining 25 per cent in each of the four teams.

As part of this massive change, the immediate move to boost the Saudi Pro League and especially these four chosen clubs, would be that each of the four Saudi Arabia PIF owned clubs would target “At least three famous international players.”

While a smaller number of these top international name players would be “shared among the other teams in the league.”

As well as Benzema signing, no surprise to see the Premier League targeted, after all, the biggest most influential league in the world has more ‘famous international players’ than anywhere else.

Among those already signed are Kante, Koulibaly, Neves and Firmino, with Fabinho and Henderson likely to follow.

While some of these are free agents getting signed up, others are getting bought for what look like high prices for those in the ‘later’ stages of their careers.

Chelsea one of the big winners so far of these high incoming Saudi Arabia PIF transfer fees but Liverpool looking set to join them, with other clubs among the usual suspects also potentially set to benefit.

I have seen some Newcastle United fans seeing this as wrong.

While I agree that it is hard to see Chelsea getting some big help via major transfer fees and savings on wages for some players who may have ended up not playing and earning big wages, I don’t think there is anything wrong with it.

It is just that with the Saudi Arabia PIF / clubs after these older ‘famous international’ players, it happens that Chelsea and Liverpool, along with the other usual suspects, were the clubs most likely to have those who fit the bill.

While it would have certainly helped – Saudi Arabia PIF / Saudi clubs are not willing to pay £50m for Ryan Fraser, or Isaac Hayden or Jeff Hendrick for that matter.

In terms of unfairness, I can’t agree with this idea whereby some Newcastle fans are seeing it as unfair that Saudi Arabia PIF money is going to rival Premier League clubs and not us.

The Saudi Arabia PIF and the Saudi Vision 2030 is much bigger and varied than their involvement at Newcastle United.

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