The Saudi Pro League's massive financial investment to attract big-name players to the Middle East undoubtedly raised plenty of eyebrows this summer.
However, aside from a handful of noteworthy examples, you would be hard-pushed to argue they got value for money for their extravagant spending. Most of the players who moved to Saudi were veterans coming to the end of their careers, or underperformers who clubs were happy to offload.
Having made initial moves to establish themselves as a global force, the Saudis will reportedly step things up next summer by targeting some of the top players in the Premier League.
Liverpool forward Mohamed Salah and Manchester City midfield Kevin De Bruyne are the standout names who have been identified as priority targets.
Both players have been the scourge of online bookmakers in recent years, with their ability to rack up goals and assists making them hugely popular with sports bettors.
The leading football betting sites in the Middle East will be running scared if either player moves there, yet it would be a surprise if they decided to take the plunge.
While hammering the bookies by padding out their statistics may be slightly tempting to the big-name duo, European football remains the place where ambitious players want to play. Given the talent they possess, Salah and De Bruyne still fall into that category.
With that in mind, we identify four players who are more likely to end up in the Saudi Pro League next summer, starting with one who has been a big disappointment in England.
Thiago Alcantara - LiverpoolLiverpool fans were falling over themselves to wager on the team to win major silverware after Thiago Alcantara joined the club from Bayern Munich in 2020.
However, punters have had their fingers burned, with the midfielder failing to live up to expectations during his time at Anfield.
A succession of injuries limited him to just 18 appearances in the Premier League last season, sparking talk that he will leave when his contract expires in 2024.
While the 32-year-old is one of Liverpool's highest earners, the Saudis have the financial muscle to offer him outlandish wages to secure his services.
Thiago Silva - ChelseaSeveral Saudi Pro League clubs cast admiring glances in Thiago Silva's direction this summer, but he ultimately remained at Stamford Bridge.
The veteran defender is now in the final year of his contract and a renewal looks unlikely given the investment Chelsea have made to strengthen their defensive options.
Silva has been linked with an emotional return to Brazil, with Fluminense reportedly keen to give him one last hurrah in his homeland.
Despite this, the Brazilian may well be made an offer he cannot refuse to spend the final part of his career in the Middle East.
Jorginho - ArsenalWith Arsenal splashing the cash on midfielder Declan Rice this summer, Jorginho will likely spend much of this season watching from the
The midfielder is another player in the final year of his contract and his agent has already been talking up the possibility of him heading elsewhere.
Reuniting with his former Napoli and Chelsea manager Maurizio Sarri at Lazio could be tempting, but the riches on offer in the Middle East may prove to be more enticing.
Jorginho could probably play in the calmer waters of the Saudi Pro League with his eyes closed and would be a useful signing for which ever club snaps him up.
Anthony Martial – Manchester UnitedAnthony Martial was targeted by several Saudi Pro League clubs this summer, but he opted to remain at Manchester United.
However, given his inconsistent performances and ongoing struggles with injury, the Frenchman's long-term future at Old Trafford looks extremely questionable.
Martial is unlikely to be happy playing a bit-part role for the Red Devils and the club may decide to push him out of the Old Trafford exit door next summer.
A return to Ligue 1 is arguably Martial's most likely option, but bumper financial offers from Saudi Pro League clubs could be too tempting to ignore.