Published: 2023-06-26 09:24
Last Updated: 2024-02-26 07:11
Senegal captain Kalidou Koulibaly became the latest star name to head to Saudi Arabia Sunday as he joined Al-Hilal from Chelsea, the Premier League club confirmed.
Koulibaly joined the Blues just last year from Napoli for a reported USD 42 million.
However, the 32-year-old struggled in the Premier League as Chelsea finished 12th -- their lowest league finish since 1994.
"Kalidou Koulibaly has left Chelsea after completing a permanent transfer to Saudi Professional League side Al-Hilal," Chelsea said in a statement.
"We would like to thank Kalidou for his contributions on and off the pitch during his time at Stamford Bridge and wish him well for the next stage of his career."
Backed by the nation's sovereign wealth fund, the Saudi Pro League is luring big names from the major European leagues with the promise of huge salaries.
Cristiano Ronaldo's move to Al Nassr in January started the trend.
His former Real Madrid teammate Karim Benzema and French World Cup winner N'Golo Kante of Chelsea have recently joined Al-Ittihad.
Chelsea could be set to further profit from the Saudi investment.
Goalkeeper Edouard Mendy is reportedly close to joining Al Ahli, while Moroccan winger Hakim Ziyech is on the brink of a move to Al Nassr.
The English club needs to sell players before the end of the month to try and comply with financial fair play regulations after spending over GBP 500 million on new signings over the past 12 months.