Arabian Clubs Show Interest in Three Sundowns Talents
According to sources, Saudi Arabian clubs have shown interest in three Mamelodi Sundowns players following a recent injection of funds.
The players targeted by these money-rich clubs include Bafana Bafana stars Themba ‘Mshishi’ Zwane, Thapelo Morena, and Namibian international striker Peter Shalulile. Reports suggest that the number of players being pursued from Sundowns could potentially reach five.
The performances of the Brazilians in this season’s CAF Champions League, where they were eliminated in the semi-finals by Wydad Athletic Club on the away goal rule, have reportedly been closely monitored by several clubs.
It is worth noting that Saudi Arabian football officials have established strong links with the Confederation of African Football (CAF), evident from their recent signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with CAF President Patrice Motsepe.
Recent reports also indicate that Saudi Arabia’s wealth fund is considering acquiring full ownership of the country’s top four football clubs, namely Al Nassr, Al Ahli, Al Hilal, and Al Ittihad.
The government intends to privatize various state-owned sports clubs, with the Public Investment Fund (PIF) expected to own 75 percent of these clubs. Substantial financial support will be provided to entice players from around the globe.
The primary objective of these endeavors is believed to be positioning the Saudi Pro League among the top 10 leagues in the world, aligning with the country’s Vision 2030 economic diversification plan, which includes sports as one of its main pillars.
Notably, the recent transfers of French striker Karim Benzema to Al Ittihad from Real Madrid and Chelsea midfielder Ngolo Kante’s rumored move to the same club have fueled speculation that more international stars are being targeted by Saudi Arabian clubs.
Mamelodi Sundowns, in the meantime, is preparing to participate in the highly lucrative African Super League (ASL) later this year. The tournament offers a substantial prize pool of over R110 million after only three to four matches.
Despite missing out on the CAF Champions League title, Sundowns is reportedly focused on a strong campaign in the ASL. It remains unclear whether they would consider selling their key players to Saudi Arabia.
Sources suggest that senior players like Zwane may view this as an opportunity to secure a substantial financial deal from the oil-rich nation. However, the club’s stance on potential player transfers is yet to be determined.
As the Saudi Arabian clubs continue to explore options to bolster their squads, the football landscape may witness further high-profile transfers, potentially altering the dynamics of both local and international competitions.