HomeFootball NewsThe best rumoured Saudi League XI vs the best Premier League XI

The best rumoured Saudi League XI vs the best Premier League XI

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Over the course of this summer’s transfer window, we have seen the Saudi Pro League looking at signing some of the top talents in Europe.

After Cristiano Ronaldo joined Al Nassr in January, plenty of well-known names who played their football in Europe’s top leagues have followed in the Portuguese’s footsteps.

Here is a comparison of the best XI made up of Saudi Pro League players who have already signed, or are being heavily linked with a move to the league, and the best XI from the Premier League.

Rumoured Saudi Pro League (3-4-3)

Goalkeeper: Edouard Mendy (Confirmed: Al Ahli)

Defence: Sergio Ramos (Rumour) – Kalidou Koulibaly (Confirmed: Al Hilal) – Ferland Mendy (Rumour)

Midfield: Ruben Neves (Confirmed: Al Hilal) – N’Golo Kante (Confirmed: Al Ittihad) – Marcelo Brozovic (Confirmed: Al Nassr) – Frank Kessie (Rumour)

Attack: Bernardo Silva (Rumour) – Karim Benzema (Confirmed: Al Ittihad) – Cristiano Ronaldo (Signed in January: Al Nassr)

Premier League (4-3-3)

Goalkeeper: Alisson (Liverpool)

Defence: Kyle Walker (Man City) – John Stones (Man City) – William Saliba (Arsenal) – Andy Robertson (Liverpool)

Midfield: Kevin De Bruyne (Man City) – Rodri (Man City) – Martin Odegaard (Arsenal)

Attack: Bukayo Saka (Arsenal) – Erling Haaland (Man City) – Mohamed Salah (Liverpool)


Which starting XI is stronger?

At first glance, it is clear and obvious the Premier League XI is much stronger. It would be difficult for any league to compete with England’s top-flight best XI. But it is key to understand the kind of players Saudi Arabia is attracting and what influence they have in the football world.

Many would argue that Alisson is the best goalkeeper in the world, but only a couple of years ago new Al Ahli signing Mendy was named Champions League Goalkeeper of the Season for the 2020-21 campaign. Even at the age of 32, Mendy could still play at the elite level and is a great goalkeeper for the Saudi League to have.

Every defender in the Premier League XI could be considered to be well above the level of any of the Saudi League backline.

In his prime, four-time Champions League winner Sergio Ramos would be a strong player to use in a comparison against the best Premier League centre-backs. But now, at the age of 37, his ability is nowhere near what it was and a potential move to Saudi Arabia or the MLS will be largely based on his legacy in football.

Real Madrid left-back Ferland Mendy has also been linked with a switch, showing that Saudi Arabia is also able to convince younger players to join their league.

The potential Saudi League midfield is very strong, maybe not at the level of the Premier League names listed, but going up against other top European Leagues this midfield would have success.

Ruben Neves was linked with plenty of top European clubs. N’Golo Kante was a Champions League winner only two years ago. Marcelo Brozovic was in Inter Milan’s team for their run to the Champions League final this season. Frank Kessie made 28 La Liga appearances in Barcelona’s title-winning season. Despite not quite facing up to the best Premier League XI midfield, it is clear to see Saudi Arabia is attracting serious talent and ability.

On to the front three for each side, and once again the Premier League (on current ability) can be considered to be better. This being said, treble winner Bernardo Silva is heavily linked with Saudi Arabia. At the age of 28, the money being offered to the Portugal international is making the interest serious.

Arguably the greatest of all time, Cristiano Ronaldo, made the switch to Saudi Arabia in January. The five-time Ballon d’Or winner is now 38 years old, but in his prime, he was simply one of the best to ever play the game. It was only two seasons ago in the Premier League Ronaldo struck 18 goals in 30 appearances.

The final forward, Karim Benzema, was the Ballon d’Or winner in 2022, winning the Champions League that same year. Bringing the Frenchman to the Saudi Pro League is a fantastic achievement and one that shocked European football. It was also a serious statement of intent by the league.

The main factor for Premier League XI being so much better is how old many of the Saudi League players are. If both sides were in their prime or best form, it could be a lot more equal.

Nevertheless, it is clear to see that Saudi Arabia has the capability to sign some of football’s biggest names.

 

 

Jon Fisher
Jon Fisher
Jon has over 20 years' experience in sports journalism having worked at the Press Association, Goal and Stats Perform, covering three World Cups, an Olympics and numerous other major sporting events.

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