Manchester United boss Erik ten Hag doesn’t appear to be concerned with the spending of Saudi Arabian clubs during the summer transfer window and beyond, unlike rivals Jurgen Klopp and Pep Guardiola

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Man Utd: Ten Hag refuses to be drawn on Hojlund questions

Jurgen Klopp and Pep Guardiola have both talked up the impact which Saudi Arabia’s extravagant spending will have on European football - but Erik ten Hag has downplayed their fears.

Both Liverpool manager Klopp and Manchester City boss Guardiola have each been directly impacted by the Gulf state’s summer transfer splurge, as teams from the Saudi Pro League have signed multiple key players from both of their squads. Ten Hag, on the other hand, has been able to offload the unwanted Alex Telles to Al-Nassr and doesn’t seem to fear losing his prized assets.

“I think in Europe it has an effect because there is some money over there and it will attract players,” the Manchester United boss declared last week. “But I don’t see it in this moment as a problem for the Premier League. Because the Premier League is the league where the big players want to play. That is not in competition with a league like America or Saudi Arabia.”

That’s in contrast to his rival managers, with Guardiola claiming that the Saudis have already “changed the market.” The Treble winner explained: “It is not about a threat, it is a reality. They want to create a strong league and so far they are the league who can do it. The Premier League spent more than the other because the organisation is better and the broadcast (revenues) are higher.

“Right now with the Saudi league, I don’t know how long they will sustain that. But the players want to take this experience and play in that league. Saudi Arabia has changed the market.

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Saudi Pro League teams have swiped players from both Jurgen Klopp and Pep Guardiola Saudi Pro League teams have swiped players from both Jurgen Klopp and Pep Guardiola (


Michael Regan/Getty Images)

“A few months ago when Cristiano (Ronaldo) was the only one to go and no one thought this many top, top players would play in the Saudi league. In the future, there will be more - and that’s why clubs need to be aware of what is happening.”

Klopp agreed with Guardiola, having been asked to comment on former Liverpool star Sadio Mane’s imminent transfer from Bayern Munich to Al-Nassr, where he’ll join Ronaldo and ex-United defender Telles. “Sadio is a very proud man,” Klopp replied. “We will see. The Saudi influence (on transfers) is massive, it is influential for us but we will have to deal with it.”

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So far, Liverpool have been forced to wave goodbye to long-time midfielder Fabinho and club captain Jordan Henderson, who’ve signed for Al-Ittihad and Al-Ettifaq respectively, as well as fan favourite forward Roberto Firmino, who joined Al-Ahli shortly after his release this summer. Meanwhile, City have lost highly-rated winger Riyad Mahrez, who’s linked up with Firmino at the same club.

“Riyad got an incredible offer and that’s why we could not say, ‘Don’t do it’,” Guardiola added. “Definitely, our thoughts were for Riyad to stay here. I understand completely.”