An initiative between LaLiga, Saudi Arabia's General Sports Authority and the Saudi FA will see a series of Saudi Arabian players move on loan to play their football in Spain for the remainder of the 2017/18 campaign.
The hope is to generate further profile for the Spanish league in the Gulf nation with current top flight outfits Levante, Villarreal and Leganés already confirming the loan acquisition of Saudi players. In the second tier, four clubs (Valladolid, Numancia, Rayo and Sporting with their particular player set to play with the "B" team) will have Saudi born players in their ranks. None of the players will arrive at any cost, nor will their salaries be paid by any of the Spanish teams involved.
Yahia Al-Shehri joins Leganes, Levante will be augmented with the talents of Fahad Al-Muwallad, Villarreal pick-up Salem Al Dawsari (with Jaber Issa joining the Villlarreal second team), Valladolid will be joined by Nouh Al-Mousa, Alí Al Namer moves to Soria and will play with Numancia, Abdulmajeed Al Sulaiheem joins Rayo Vallecano with Alshabab Abdullah heading to Mareo to play for Sporting "B". These are the first Saudi players to ever feature in the Spanish league.
Saudi Arabia set for Russia 2018
The Saudi Arabia national team coached by former Tenerife and Barça Juan Antonio Pizzi will participate at the Russia World Cup and are in Group A along with Russia, Egypt and Uruguay. It's hoped that the experience gleaned by certain players playing in one of Europe's most prestigious competitions will assist their preparation ahead of the tournament whilst LaLiga officials will hope that the initiative draws more Saudi fans to the Spanish game.
The move hasn't been universally well received with many fans taking to social media complaining about the enterprise which they feel is no more than a unscrupulous marketing drive.