At some point in the future, football historians will look back on 2023 as the year that witnessed the emergence of Saudi Arabia as a new haven for some of the sport’s biggest stars.
For his part, Merih Demiral is on the verge of joining the ever-growing host of players who are trading European football with Saudi Pro League reaches.
According to Calciomercato, the 25-year-old defender will leave Atalanta to join Al-Ahli on a deal worth 20 million euros.
The defender has recently fallen out of favor in Gian Piero Gasperini’s tactical project. He has been training separately while awaiting a transfer.
Eventually, it turned out that the Turk’s next stop will be in the Middle East where he’ll sign a three-year deal that will see him pocket 13 million euros per year.
The centre-back will join the likes of Firmino, Riyad Mahrez and Edouard Mendy who have already joined Al-Ahli, while Napoli midfielder Piotr Zielinski is reportedly on his way.
This development offers a boost for Juventus who will collect 10% of the player’s transfer sum as a sell-on fee. This translates to 2 million euros.
The Turkiye defender joined Juventus in 2019 following a brief spell at Sassuolo. He suffered a devastating ACL injury during his first campaign in Turin.
In the following campaign, he struggled for playing time under Andrea Pirlo’s guidance. The Bianconeri then sold him to Atalanta in 2021.