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Brazil forward Neymar is headed for Saudi Arabia after Pro League side Al Hilal agreed to a two-year deal with Paris St Germain, Saudi state media reported on Monday, August 14.
There was no immediate comment from the Ligue 1 champions, owned by Qatar Sports Investments, but French newspaper L’Equipe said the deal could net 31-year-old Neymar 160 million euros ($175 million).
The transfer fee was reported to be about 90 million euros plus add-ons and subject to completing a medical.
Sources close to the operation told Reuters that Neymar was having a medical in Paris on Monday and was expected to arrive in Riyadh on Wednesday to be presented to fans at King Fahd Stadium.
Al Hilal, managed by Portuguese coach Jorge Jesus, plays Al Fayha on Saturday, August 19, with Neymar expected to wear the No. 10 shirt.
Neymar, who joined PSG in 2017 from Spanish club Barcelona for a world record transfer fee of 222 million euros ($243 million), missed PSG’s league opener against Lorient on Saturday due to a viral infection.
The Brazilian was contracted to stay in the French capital until 2025 and has 118 goals in 173 appearances, capturing numerous trophies including five Ligue 1 titles, but is no longer considered a key player in coach Luis Enrique’s squad.
Multiple sources said he had hoped to return to Barcelona on a loan agreement but the Spanish side’s financial issues had made that unaffordable.
Al Hilal had tried to sign PSG’s France international Kylian Mbappe, who was reinstated into the Paris club’s first team on Sunday.
The Saudi side was also reportedly interested in Argentinian Lionel Messi, who opted to join Major League Soccer’s Inter Miami.
The most successful club in Saudi Arabia and Asia, Al Hilal has won 66 trophies and holds the record for league and Asian Champions League titles, with 18 and four of them respectively.
Strengthening the squad is a priority for the Riyadh-based club, as the Saudi Public Investment Fund announced in June an investment and privatization project for sports clubs involving league champions Al Ittihad, Al Ahli, Al Nassr, and Al Hilal.
The Saudi Pro League season kicked off on Friday after spending close to half a billion dollars luring a host of top players and coaches from European powerhouses.
Cristiano Ronaldo joined Al Nassr last season soon after the World Cup in a deal which made him the highest-paid athlete on the planet, while Al Ittihad signed Karim Benzema from Real Madrid.
Champions League winners Riyad Mahrez, Edouard Mendy, and Roberto Firmino have all signed for Al Ahli. – Rappler.com