Newcastle United links to one of PIF’s Saudi Pro League ‘four’ increases with key appointment

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Newcastle United have increasing links to one of PIF’s ‘Saudi four’.

Newcastle United’s relationship with the Saudi Pro League is gradually becoming more intertwined. Since the takeover by the country’s wealth fund, connections seemed incremental but now that PIF have majority shares in the league’s top four teams things have stepped up a notch.

Nothing proves this more than the recent appointment of Newcastle United director Abdulmajeed Alhagbani to third-place finishers, and one of PIF’s newly acquired teams, Al-Hilal SFC.

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Alhagbani became a United director in February after the December 2022 departure of former Saudi Golf CEO Majed Al Sorour. A financial expert and a senior director at PIF, Alhagbani is also, significantly, vice-chairman of Sela- the Magpies’ new £25m front-of-shirt sponsor.

The Sela deal is set to be cleared by the Premier League after testing its new fair market value rules designed to prevent overinflation for sponsorship deals.

Newcastle United could be facing Al-Hilal again (Getty Images) Newcastle United could be facing Al-Hilal again (Getty Images)
Newcastle United could be facing Al-Hilal again (Getty Images) | Getty Images

It is thought Alhagbani will continue to carry out all of his roles, including at Newcastle and Al Hilal, simultaneously.

But Newcastle were already connected to Al-Hilal. In December, players who weren’t called up for the World Cup travelled to Riyadh to play against the Saudi side, winning 5-0.

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Newcastle United chief commercial officer Peter Silverstone with Sela senior vice president Ibrahim Mohtaseb and Darren Eales, the club's chief executive officer.Newcastle United chief commercial officer Peter Silverstone with Sela senior vice president Ibrahim Mohtaseb and Darren Eales, the club's chief executive officer.
Newcastle United chief commercial officer Peter Silverstone with Sela senior vice president Ibrahim Mohtaseb and Darren Eales, the club's chief executive officer. | NUFC

And the match-up could soon be repeated- with reports of a Saudi team arriving on Tyneside before the start of the season.

Of course, Al-Hilal has been in the headlines a lot recently. PIF’s 75% purchase of the top four teams has granted the Saudi sides an armoury of cash, financing the moves of some of Europe’s best footballers.

So far, Wolves captain Ruben Neves joined the Middle Eastern side for £47 million, followed by Chelsea’s Kalidou Koulibaly, with many more linked.

It’s currently unclear how the connection between Newcastle and Al-Hilal will impact the club, but it does create a lot of speculation as to future transfers and loans.

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Newcastle United winger Allan Saint-Maximin.  (Photo by George Wood/Getty Images)Newcastle United winger Allan Saint-Maximin.  (Photo by George Wood/Getty Images)
Newcastle United winger Allan Saint-Maximin. (Photo by George Wood/Getty Images) | Getty Images

Allan Saint-Maximin has been linked with a move to the Saudi Pro League this week after making just 25 appearances last season.

The Frenchman has been adding fuel to the fire too, often posting cryptic messages that fans speculate could hint at his future on Tyneside.

One thing is certain, however, and that is that PIF is building a sports empire. It was revealed yesterday a specialised sporting arm will be added to the investment fund, focusing on new investments and global domination which will see them target the likes of tennis and Formula One.

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