It is official: We live in a crazy period.
Spanish La Liga and the Saudi Association started a special agreement that sends the leading Saudi national team players on loan to Spanish teams from La Liga and the second division in Spain. Here is the full list:
Salem Al-Dawsri: Al Hilal to Villareal.
Yahia Shahri: Al-Nassr to Leganes
Nouh Al-Moussa: Al-Fateh to Valladolid
Ali Al-Nimer: Al-Shabab to Numancia
Jaber Mustafa: Al-Shabab to Villareal B
Marwan Othman: Al-Shabab to Leganes B
Abd Al-Majid Al-Sleyhim: Al-Shabab to Rayo Vallecano
Abdallha Al-Hamdan: Sporting Gijon
Fahd Al-Muwallad (the biggest Saudi player at the moment): Ittihad Jeddah to Levante
This deal, involves many things, not many of which are directly related to what happens on the field.
So what do the Saudis want? They want that their players will practice and live as professionals before the World Cup, and that the talk about the Saudi players will be a positive one, in Spanish and English. And they'll get it. Up to date, no Saudi player has played in Europe. Never ( Except Mukhtar Ali, which is a British-Somali-Saudi). The rich sheikhs keep the big stars at their local clubs, and that's how they rarely went abroad, if at all. Today, on one evening, ten Saudi players signed in Spain. Together. It’s crazy.
So what do the Spanish clubs get?
Money. And a lot of it. Each club enjoys a special fee depending on the level of the player, and afterwards for the games he has participated at, training sessions, etc. They also enjoy aintensive and aggressive PR, expansion in the Internet and social networks, and the opening of the large Arab market, which many seem to be aiming at lately.
Exactly like Liverpool went on Salah, here it’s happening with other players (a little less good than him), but you will get the same bingo at that buzz in several locations simultaneously. Madness.
Will these players play in Spain and join teams? It's too early to say. Some of them are of a high level and may seem impressive minutes from them, and some are mediocre and very surprising that they really signed, and it is hard for me to see them participating in Spanish soccer truth as full-fledged players.
But the truth is that all this is now a history.
Tonight the Twitter in Saudi Arabia was broken. Every second another player was prevailed in another club, and the clubs released tweets one after the other. A scheduled public relations concert by the Saudis, which was somewhat reminiscent of the media move they made the day the Gulf crisis broke out. Some kind of a domino effect, that surprises every few minutes.
Here is a direct impact. In the last hour, more than 10,000 Saudis have begun tracking the Twitter account of the small club Levante from Spain, which signed Fahd Almuwallad, Saudi Arabia's biggest star today. Some of the users even wrote and threatened that if he will not open against Real, they would unfollow the club’s account. Tomorrow it would already be tens of thousands, if not pass the hundred thousand new followers for Levante.
There is a lot to say. We live in a crazy football era, and the Arab and Middle Eastern football specifically, are again – the main event.