Pete O'Rourke column: Saudi clubs swoop for De Bruyne and Salah, big update on Arsenal swoop for Luiz, Man City to accept Phillips offer
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Saudi Pro League officials have sounded out Kevin De Bruyne about a potential move to the Middle East.
I’m told he is a serious target for the league, who are now stepping up their pursuit of the 32-year-old.
My understanding is that Saudi Arabia want to lure him to the nation next summer – and are hopeful of persuading him to make the move.
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It would be a major statement of intent for the Saudis, who have also made Liverpool star Mohamed Salah a top target.
De Bruyne is happy at Man City, but I’m told the finances involved could persuade him to leave the Etihad Stadium in the coming months.
No move will happen in January – with luring more and more big names the priority for the Saudi Pro League before making their move for the Belgium international in the summer window.
I’m told City could demand a fee in excess of £50million for the midfielder, who will have one year on his contract come the summer.
Man City are currently fully focused on returning him to fitness as he is a key man for manager Pep Guardiola.
The Magpies are in a delicate financial situation ahead of the January transfer window.
Financial Fair Play restrictions prevented them from signing a centre-back and attacking player in the summer window – and some of the names being linked as they search for a Sandro Tonali stand-in are not realistic.
The transfer budget will not be available for Newcastle to move for the likes of Fulham’s Joao Palhinha, Everton star Amadou Onana or Man United ace Scott McTominay in January.
Newcastle are much more likely to reinforce their squad with loan signings in the January window, I’m told.
Man City will not stand in the way of Kalvin Phillips making a loan move to St James’ Park.
He is not key to Guardiola’s plans and a temporary move could help raise his stock ahead of a potential bidding war in the summer window.
City see a loan as the perfect option to protect their asset.
Marco Silva has recently signed a new contract running until 2028 – with assurances over spending a big part of persuading him to put pen to paper.
As such, Fulham are expected to be one of the busiest clubs in the January window.
A striker is the priority with the Cottagers one of the lowest scorers in the Premier League.
As previously reported by Football Insider, Fulham are in the hunt for Stuttgart hitman Serhou Guirassy – who has a release clause of around £15million in his current contract.
Other priorities include a right-sided centre-back with Tosin Adarabioyo expected to leave the club in January.
Adarabioyo will have just six months left on his deal when the winter window opens.
The Gunners are not willing to let Aaron Ramsdale depart in January – even if he decides a move away is for the best.
I’m told the goalkeeper wants regular first-team football and Arsenal are aware of the growing scrutiny surrounding their two first-team goalkeepers.
But any movement is likely to come in the summer, with Chelsea among the sides linked with a potential swoop.
Ramsdale doesn’t want to be the second choice, and nor does Raya – and Arsenal could now allow Ramsdale to leave and move for a firm backup in the summer of 2024.
Meanwhile, links with Aston Villa star Douglas Luiz continue at Arsenal following his strong start to the season.
I’m told there is not likely to be a move in the January window as he is key at Villa – who don’t need to sell due to their strong financial position.
But Arsenal are continuing to keep tabs on the midfielder ahead of next summer – even if they would need to raise funds for his capture by selling Jorginho or Thomas Partey.
Luiz could open talks over an Aston Villa renewal in January, with his current deal in the Midlands set to expire in June 2026.
The Ibrox club have no buy option in their loan agreement with Brighton for winger Abdallah Sima.
Brighton paid £7million for him in 2021 but he is yet to play a minute for them – and was sent to Ibrox to get regular first-team football.
He has impressed at Rangers, scoring nine goals so far in the 2023-24 campaign.
The Ibrox club will explore a potential permanent move, I’m told, but several other clubs are also set to enter the race.
That development could well drive up Sima’s price tag and prevent Rangers making a move – and I’m told they may well baulk at Brighton’s demands.