Klopp cries out over Saudi Arabia League’s longer transfer window

Klopp cries out over Saudi league's longer transfer window

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has expressed concerns over the effect a longer Saudi Arabia transfer window will have on the European leagues.

The German tactician believes it is “not helpful” given the transfer market in Saudi Arabia is open nearly three weeks longer than in Europe.

The European top leagues’ transfer deadline is September 1, whereas Saudi Arabia’s is September 20.

It implies that clubs in the Middle East can still add to their high-profile acquisitions this summer, whilst European clubs cannot.

“It is massive, in the moment,” said Klopp on Saudi Arabia’s influence.

“Pretty much the worst thing I think is that the transfer window in Saudi Arabia is open three weeks longer.

“If I am right, I heard something like that, then at least in Europe that’s not helpful.

“Uefa or Fifa must find solutions for that. But in the end, at this moment, I don’t know exactly what will happen.”

Liverpool have already been affected by players moving to Saudi Arabia, with midfielders Jordan Henderson and Fabinho joining Al-Ettifaq and Al-Ittihad respectively.

They are part of a growing group of players to make the switch to the country, with Brazil forward Roberto Firmino having signed for Al-Ahli after his Reds contract expired in the summer.

Al-Ahli have also signed Senegal keeper Edouard Mendy from Chelsea and winger Riyad Mahrez from Manchester City.

Al-Ittihad, meanwhile, have brought in former Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema, ex-Chelsea midfielder N’Golo Kante and Portuguese forward Jota from Celtic.

Al-Hilal, who made a world-record £259m bid for Paris St-Germain forward Kylian Mbappe, have signed Portugal midfielder Ruben Neves from Wolves and Senegal defender Kalidou Koulibaly from Chelsea.

Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola has said the Saudi Pro League’s financial power has “changed the market” for transfers and elite clubs “need to be aware of what is happening”.

Liverpool were not planning to sell Henderson and Fabinho and, having already seen James Milner, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Naby Keita leave the club at the end of their contracts, have lost five midfielders on a permanent basis this summer.

Bayern Munich manager Thomas Tuchel was also asked about the rising influence of Saudi football and he likened it to the Chinese Super League where clubs also spent heavily on importing footballing talent in the middle of the last decade.

“I’m just observing the situation, which is a very new situation,” said the Bayern boss.

“It’s maybe a bit similar to the situation when China started their league. It’s kind of a similar gold rush there and we’re experiencing the next league which tries to become more popular, more famous and tries to build a brand by signing a lot of quality players and coaches,” he added.

“It’s a completely new situation and a bit too early for me to have a clear opinion. So I’m an observer, a surprised observer.”

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