When Benzema was signed by the Saudi League two months ago, the general consensus in European football was that the Saudi League was completely incapable of posing a threat to the Big Five. Linekers are unimpressed by the Saudi league's heavy purchases of late stars over the age of 30, as it has already happened in Russia, Qatar and China. The Saudi league was temporarily dubbed the "retired league".
But when Ruben Neves, Milinkovic, Fabinho, Mitrovic, Ibáñez, Saint-Maximan, S. Fofana, and Kessie, who are under the age of 30 and in the prime of their careers in the five major leagues, joined one after another, plus Laporte and Verratti, who are likely to join, the whole of Europe began to feel the seriousness of the situation. Lineker joked that unless the Saudi league can sign Mbappe, it will not pose a threat to Europe's top five leagues or even the Premier League. But now that first-class stars like Milinkovic, Verratti, Mitrovic and Ruben Neves are in their prime in the five major leagues, they have been poached by the Saudi league with high salaries, and things are different.
Guardiola has taken the lead in warning: "The Saudi league has completely changed the market, and when Ronaldo joined at the beginning of the year, no one expected that there would be so many first-class stars to play in Saudi Arabia. In the future, such things will only increase. Instead of posing a threat, the Saudi league has become a threat. The Premier League can still maintain its advantage simply because the league structure is better and there is more broadcast revenue. But the Saudis were ambitious, and they did. ”
UEFA has also begun to worry about the threat of the Saudi league, which is not bound by the Fiscal Fairness Act, at least for now, and has no cap on investment. At least 5 times the annual salary is a temptation that is difficult to refuse for the vast majority of European leading stars. The Saudi league may even be a threat to UEFA, even surpassing the European Super League, which is only Real Madrid and Barcelona. Arsenal's American boss Kroenke didn't initially think the Saudi league would pose a threat to the Premier League, but he now puts more emphasis on the Premier League's cooperation with the Saudi League: turning possible future rivalry into a mutually beneficial one.
Premier League CEO Masters said at the end of July that he was not worried about the Saudi league: "It took us 30 years to reach a dominant position in terms of brand IP, competitiveness and revenue sources. Tebas, president of the Spanish Professional League, has a similar view, but his approach is to fully cooperate with Saudi Arabia, starting with the Spanish Super League to promote La Liga to Saudi Arabia, while establishing a training base for the Saudi national team in Spain to attract investment from Saudi Arabia.
But the threat from the Saudi league is real when it comes to the other three major leagues, which lag far behind the Premier League and La Liga in terms of global social media influence and commercial appeal. Serie A's best midfielders have been poached by two, and Ligue 1's best midfielders will follow suit. In the future, there may be more top stars flowing from Serie A and Ligue 1 to Saudi Arabia.