Aleksander Ceferin, the president of UEFA has sounded a note of warning to Saudi Arabia regarding their transfer strategy for the Saudi Pro League.
Aleksander Ceferin’s warning is coming after the departure of players like Cristiano Ronaldo and Karim Benzema from Europe to the gulf country.
Ceferin rubbished their transfer policy and termed it a mistake which could see them go the route of China.
Saudi Arabia has continued to rasack the European continent for the biggest of names who are in the twilight of their careers.
The Asian nations have also chased after top managers in Europe and they continue to show their desire to get their signature.
However, Aleksander Ceferin feels that Saudi Arabia should “invest that money” into academies, acquiring coaches and grooming their own players.
In an interview with Netherlands broadcaster NOS, Ceferin was questioned if he was scared of players trooping out of Europe to join clubs in the Pro League.
Ceferin responded emphatically: “No, no, no. I think that it’s mainly a mistake for Saudi Arabian football.
“Why is that a problem for them? Because they should invest in academies, they should bring coaches, and they should develop their own players.”
Alexsander Ceferin compared Saudi Arabia’s transfer strategy to that of China
He further went ahead to juxtapose the Saudi Pro League’s transfer policy with that of China several years ago.
The 55-year-old said: “The system of buying the players that almost ended their career is not the system that develops football.
“It was a similar mistake in China when they all brought players who are at the end of their career.”
Aleksander Ceferin also asked a pertinent question on if there is any player who starts his career and decides to play in Saudi Arabia.
Quoting him verbatim, he said: “Tell me one player who is top, top age and who starts his career and went to play in Saudi Arabia?”
Ceferin insisted that it’s not only about money but competition
The Slovenian stressed that it’s not just about money but players want prime competition.
Ceferin said: “But it’s not about money only. Players want to win top competitions. And top competition is in Europe.”
The Slovenian also brushed aside worries of European football losing its glamor after the exit of Cristiano Ronaldo and Karim Benzema.
He said: “We didn’t lose them.
“They still play football. At the end of their career some players go somewhere to earn some money.”
N’Golo Kante has also reportedly penned a deal with Al Ittihad and that would see him team up with Benzema.
He becomes the third high-profile player to join Saudi Arabia with Cristiano Ronaldo having joined in December 2022.
Ruben Neves appears to also be on the brink of moving to the Pro League with Al Hilal reported to have agreed a deal with the Portuguese and Wolverhampton Wanderers.
Only time will tell which player will head to Saudi Arabia next as they continue their raid on Europe’s biggest stars.
Hakim Ziyech, Romelu Lukaku, Pierre Emerick Aubameyang, Neymar Jr amongst others have been linked with a move to the Asian nation.
However, Aleksander Ceferin maintains that he isn’t bothered about all the recent happenings.