Saudi Pro League transfers: Every player to have left Serie A for Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia has become a real threat to a number of top European clubs as Saudi Pro League sides are splashing big money on signing players. Which Serie A players have moved there?

Marcelo Brozovic is presented as an Al Nassr player. (@AlNassrFC_EN)

Some major European leagues have been shaken by the recent influx of spending and signings from the Saudi Pro League, as several stars have departed their shores for the Middle East. Ex-Juventus striker Cristiano Ronaldo arguably the highest profile of those to head to Saudi Arabia recently when he was forced out of Manchester United and unable to find a European buyer. Since, a number of top-quality players have followed.

The Premier League has seen the biggest impact, although the likes of Chelsea shifting unwanted players, such as Edouard Mendy and former Napoli defender Kalidou Koulibaly, gave a much-needed boost to their finances.

Sergej Milinkovic-Savic with Al Hilal. (@Alhilal_EN)

Serie A has also seen departures, although in smaller numbers, but which players have left Italy for Saudi Arabia?

Transfers from Serie A to Saudi Arabia

Marcelo Brozovic – From Inter to Al Nassr

Marcelo Brozovic trains as an Al Nassr player. (@AlNassrFC_EN)

Croatian international Brozovic brought to an end an eight-year association with Inter shortly after captaining the side during their disappointing Champions League final defeat to Manchester City, agreeing to join Cristiano Ronaldo at Al Nassr for a fee of €18m.

After 330 appearances in the Nerazzurri shirt, and winning two Coppa Italia trophies and the 2020/21 Serie A title, few can question the ex-Dinamo Zagreb midfielder’s contribution during his stay at the Stadio Giuseppe Meazza.

Sergej Milinkovic-Savic – From Lazio to Al Hilal

Sergej Milinkovic-Savic with Al Hilal. (@Alhilal_EN)

Like Brozovic, Milinkovic-Savic had made a massive contribution to the Biancocelesti’s success during eight years in the Italian capital, including some stunning goals among the 69 in a Lazio shirt in all competitions. However, unlike the ex-Inter captain, at 28 years old, the Serbian is at the peak of his powers and many expected him to remain within Europe.

A €40m offer from four-time AFC Champions League-winning Al Hilal was certainly too much for the Rome-based club to reject and Milinkovic-Savic also could not resist the reported €20m-a-year contract presented, which more than doubled his Lazio deal.

Ciprian Tatarusanu – From AC Milan to Abha

Ciprian Tatarusanu on the ball for AC Milan. [Photo: AC Milan]

Ciprian Tatarusanu was an unexpectedly important player for AC Milan last season as Mike Maignan missed a large chunk of the season through injury.

The Romanian did a solid, if unspectacular job in between the sticks for Stefano Pioli but his contract expired this summer. He has been snapped up by Abha in the Saudi Pro League.

Roger Ibanez – AS Roma to Al Ahli

Roger Ibanez and Chris Smalling celebrate goal for AS Roma against Monza. [@OfficialASRoma]

This was a move that Roma really wanted to happen so that they could reinvest the money into some other new players. The central defender seemed destined for a Premier League move but then Al Ahli arrived.

They offered Roma a deal worth €28.5m and the Giallorossi decided to let the move go ahead. Roma have not brought anyone in since Ibanez was sold but a flurry of activity is very possible at the end of the window.

Assan Ceesay – Lecce to Damac FC

Juventus’ Leandro Paredes and Lecce’s Assan Ceesay. [@juventusfcen]

Gambian striker Assan Ceesay spent one year at Lecce and managed to grab six goals which helped the Giallorossi to stay in Serie A during the 2022/23 season.

His inconsistent play and inability to hold onto the ball meant that Lorenzo Colombo became the preferred option in attack and a welcome €2.75m profit was made on his move to Damac FC.

Merih Demiral – Atalanta to Al Ahli

Atalanta’s Merih Demiral celebrates. (REUTERS/Daniele Mascolo)

It was expected that the Turkish defender would be leaving Atalanta this summer with a number of big sides linked. He seemed committed to moving away but the likes of AC Milan and Inter never made it happen.

Al Ahli have arrived on Atalanta’s doorstep and La Dea will have only been too happy to accept the €20m offer from the Saudi Pro League side.

Serie A players linked with the Saudi Pro League

Former Juventus attacker Angel Di Maria had reportedly been the subject of offers from both the Saudi Pro League and MLS, but let his heart rule over his bank account by returning to his former club Benfica. However, Bianconeri midfielder Paul Pogba remains a target for several clubs backed by the Public Investment Fund, despite a season to forget in Turin that was disrupted by injuries.

Scudetto winner Piotr Zielinski has been approached by Al Alhi, but with Lazio considering the Napoli midfielder as a replacement for Milinkovic-Savic, the Polish international could remain on the Italian peninsula. If he makes the move to the Stadio Olimpico, though, he would get the opportunity to supply the ammunition for Biancocelesti striker Ciro Immobile, who rejected a €15m-a-year offer from Saudi Arabia.