Arteta: Saudi window ‘not ideal’ for Prem clubs


Mikel Arteta has said the Saudi Pro League‘s transfer window should be brought into line with European timings because the division is now a “competitor” with the Premier League.

Clubs in most of Europe — including England, Spain, France, Italy and Germany — have until Sept. 1 to conclude their summer dealings, although Turkey have until Sept. 15.

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However, clubs in Saudi Arabia can continue transferring players until Sept. 20 — leaving many sides vulnerable to receiving the sort of lucrative offers witnessed throughout the summer, but without a chance to replace any player who leaves.

Jurgen Klopp has previously expressed his concern — an issue heightened on Merseyside this week as Al Ittihad pursue a deal for Mohamed Salah and the Liverpool boss added on Friday that FIFA should act because “if you [Saudi] want to be part of the system then you do your business at the same time.”

Arsenal face Fulham — whose leading striker Aleksandar Mitrovic joined Al Hilal for around £46 million ($57.9m) last Saturday — and while Arteta’s side have not yet lost any players to Saudi clubs, there has been interest in centre-back Gabriel, midfielder Thomas Partey and winger Nicolas Pépé.

Arteta said: “I think we have to change that [the window closing on Sept. 20].” Pushed on whether it would be destabilising to lose a player after the Sept. 1 deadline, Arteta continued: “Yes, very much. The principle would be [not to sell after Sept. 1] but I cannot make the decision for the club.

“It is a lot of people involved in that process and they would have a say, the ownership, would do the same. It would be on the table like with any offer and you have to look at it. The only thing I’m saying is it’s not ideal because they are a competitor.”

Arsenal were handed a major boost after Gabriel Jesus was declared fit to face Fulham after undergoing a minor knee operation.

“It was a big blow for him after the preseason he had to have another surgery,” Arteta said. “He’s looking really sharp. He trained the full week good. He’s ready to go.”


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