Roberto Firmino, Celtic's Jota and Marcelo Brozovic all close to signing for Saudi clubs

Roberto Firmino, Celtic's Jota and Marcelo Brozovic all close to signing for Saudi clubs
The Saudi Pro League's summer of spending continues with Roberto Firmino and Marcelo Brozovic signing up for domestic clubs and young Celtic talent Jota linked with Al-Ittihad.
2 min read
30 June, 2023
Roberto Firmino will sign for Al-Ahli pending a medical to be held today [Getty]

Former Liverpool striker Roberto Firmino is the latest big name to join the Saudi Pro League, with reports that the Brazilian is close to signing for Al-Ahli. 

The 31-year-old Brazilian has agreed personal terms with the Jeddah-based club and will complete the move following a medical, football journalist Fabrizio Romano reported.

Firmino signed for Liverpool for £29 million in 2015, with him becoming a key part of manager Jurgen Klopp's all-conquering front three, along with Mo Salah and Sadio Mane.

Firmino turned down the chance of an extension of his almost £10 million per-year contract at the Merseyside club, with Al-Ahli likely to have offered him a contract worth many times more.

A statement of intent

Al-Ahli’s city rivals Al-Ittihad are also looking to add to their impressive roster, which already includes Karim Benzema and N’Golo Kante. On Tuesday reports emerged of the Saudi champions looking to sign Celtic's exciting young Portuguese winger Jota.

This would be one of a few occasions that a Saudi club has poached a young talent from one of Europe's feeder leagues. In recent decades the Scottish Premiership has been unable to financially compete with the major European leagues, such as the Premier League.

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Al-Ittihad and Celtic have reportedly agreed a fee of around £25 million for the 25-year-old. If this signing goes through, the Saudi Pro League has seemingly shown that not only is it able to lure established players away from Europe with massively inflated wages, but it can also spend big on transfer fees for emerging talent.

Al-Nassr also beat interest from European giants Barcelona  to secure the last minute signing of 30-year-old Croatian Marcelo Brozovic from Inter Milan with a transfer fee of £23 million and a three-year deal worth an astonishing £86 million.

Brozovic will become teammates with Cristiano Ronaldo, with Al-Nassr also looking to sign Chelsea’s Hakim Ziyech.