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Barcelona players targeted by expanding Saudi football market

Raphinha (left), Lewandowski (middle), Ter Stegen (right) / Edit done by Hafed Almadani
Raphinha (left), Lewandowski (middle), Ter Stegen (right) / Edit done by Hafed Almadani

Saudi Arabia plotting moves for big Barcelona players this summer.

The emerging and ambitious Saudi football poses a threat to FC Barcelona. Last summer, several clubs from this country snatched up big stars from the global football scene, and it doesn’t seem like they’re going to slow down for the upcoming summer transfer window. In fact, they’re already considering new media operations to give the Saudi league even more prestige and shine, just ten years before the 2034 World Cup. Some FC Barcelona players are involved in these operations. According to Jordi Batalla of Mundo Deportivo, Raphinha is one of the players being targeted by Saudi football. The Brazilian international had a significant offer from a Saudi league club in the past and turned it down because he wanted to pursue his dream of success at Barça. However, the Saudis warned that they would come back stronger in the following summer. This time, it remains to be seen if Raphinha will refuse to leave.

Sources from the Blaugrana club affirm that they count on the Brazilian but would also understand if he sought an exit, considering the spectacular emergence of Lamine Yamal, who looks set to dominate the right flank of Barça for many years. The Brazilian winger has a contract until 2027 and costs the club around 58 million plus another 9 in variables. After two seasons at the club, there would be just over half of his price left to amortize, but that wouldn’t be a problem if a powerful Saudi club decides to go all out. It is noted at Barça that the Brazilian rejected an offer of around 20 million per season, which is ‘clean’ in the case of Saudi football.

On the other hand, Saudi Arabia, they are also closely watching the evolution of Robert Lewandowski, who has two years left on his contract at Barça. The Polish forward is delighted in Barcelona, and the Blaugrana club would like him to stay for at least another year to mentor Vitor Roque, who at 19 has just arrived at the club. However, the offices at Camp Nou also know that Pini Zahavi, the agent of the Pole, has been tempted by enormous figures from Saudi Arabia. In the end, it will all depend on the will of the ‘nine’, who is currently the most potent offensive argument for Barça both in the past season and in the current one. Neither he nor his wife seem particularly motivated to leave Barcelona.

Lastly, another player who has received interest from Saudi football is Marc-André ter Stegen. As revealed by our contributor Achraf Ben Ayad, the goalkeeper knows that a powerful club from that league wants him, although sources close to the goalkeeper say they haven’t received a formal offer. At 32 years old, and with a contract until 2028, it seems unlikely that Ter Stegen will decide to go to Arabia, although it’s obvious that if he wants to secure one last big contract, Saudi football is the ideal place to earn emoluments that can’t be matched anywhere else.