Saudi Arabia have become serious players in the transfer market this summer and it was recently stamped with their remarkable attempt at securing Kylian Mbappe.
Saudi side Al-Hilal offered €1 billion for just a year of Mbappe and after the Frenchman turned them down, they’ve turned their attention to a player in a move that could affect United’s long-term transfer plans.
Corriere dello Sports reports Al-Hilal are set to test Napoli’s resolve by bidding for star forward Victor Osimhen, a long-term target of United before the asking price forced them to pivot to Rasmus Hojlund.
Napoli president Aurelio de Laurentiis reportedly slapped a price tag of close to €180 million on the reigning Capocannoniere winner, a figure which deterred any potential suitor, including Paris Saint-Germain.
However, for Al-Hilal, this will be merely a drop in the ocean, if the financial terms for their Mbappe offer are any indication.
In such a scenario, De Laurentiis, a shrewd businessman, is unlikely to stand in Osimhen’s way.
The decision then, like in Mbappe’s case, will be up to the player.
Osimhen has previously stated how highly he rates Napoli after winning a historic Serie A title with the team last season.
It is why even United didn’t pursue the deal any further, pivoting instead to more realistic transfer targets.
The pull of Saudi Arabia has been a major factor in this transfer window, with United also benefitting from it, selling Alex Telles to Al-Nassr with further interest in Eric Bailly reported.
However, if the Gulf country manages to secure a superstar like Osimhen at his peak, it is sure to be a transformative moment for European football.
The Nigerian is reportedly in talks to sign a new contract at Naples with a release clause inserted, which could bring United into play next summer.
However, if Al-Hilal’s overtures become too strong to ignore, then United’s long-term transfer plans might shift as not only will Osimhen be off the market, but clubs will also launch into action to protect their own talents from being poached by Saudi’s formidable financial might.