Have Saudi Snared Another Serial Premier League Winner

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The 2023 summer transfer window has seen some incredible spending made by some Premier League clubs once again, and for most fans of the English top flight, Chelsea and Arsenal certainly stand out right now given they both respectively spent £105 million on West Ham United’s Declan Rice and £111 million on Brighton and Hove Albion’s Moises Caicedo.

This window has seen a new player (well a few of them) in the transfer market, and that has been certain Saudi Arabian clubs with their State backing. With some notable transfers with Cristiano Ronaldo, Ruben Neves, and even Neymar now plying their trade out in the Saudi Pro League, Manchester City defender Aymeric Laporte, has become the latest to make the switch.

On Wednesday afternoon, it was confirmed that the club had accepted an undisclosed offer for the 29 year old from Al-Nassr, and subject to personal terms now being agreed, he could be set to join Ronaldo, Sadio Mane, Marcelo Brozovic and Alex Telles at the club.

City initially signed Laporte from Athletic Bilbao back in January 2018 for a then club record fee of £57 million, and he has more than played his part in their success since – particularly his role in helping them to five Premier League titles in the last six. Having made 43 starts in the 2021/22 campaign under manager Pep Guardiola, he did slip more out of favour during their Treble winning season with Guardiola preferring Manuel Akanji and Nathan Ake, and it seems that having signed 21 year old Croatian international, Josko Gvardiol, for £77 million earlier this summer, it does seem his successful spell at the Etihad Stadium has now reached a natural end.

Should Laporte depart before the transfer window closes, he will leave currently having made 180 appearances in total for the Manchester club, scoring 12 goals. Having switched his international allegiance from France to Spain back in 2021, and now having 22 caps to his name, and having played his part in the Spaniards reaching the UEFA Nations League final in June, he would become another high profile capture by the league an Al-Nassr themselves.

They are one of the four clubs in the Pro League that have been taken over by Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund, along with Al-Ittihad, Al-Hilal and Al-Ahli, and as English fans will know, the PIF group have also taken over at Newcastle United as they grow and develop their involvement in the beautiful game.

Plenty are asking where this may eventually take the game, but at least for now, it would be a fair guess to assume that Laporte may not be the last player to make the switch before the window closes, as they are certainly splashing the cash to more quickly raise their profile.

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