Tue 16 April 2024 | 7:09

Why some players are struggling to adapt to Saudi Pro League football

Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the last year or so, you’ll be fully aware of the emergence of the Saudi Pro League and the abundance of professionals who are swapping life in Europe for a big move to an emerging competition.

. For many of these players, though, adapting to their new clubs is proving to be a challenge. 

A competition with plenty of room for growth 

Although the big money on offer enticed a host of star names to the Middle East, it’s a domestic competition that hasn’t really taken off yet. Compared to the Premier League, where fans are regularly consuming YouTube content dedicated to specific clubs and assessing

football odds

before having a bet, with the likes of Arsenal currently priced at 11/4 to win the league, the Saudi Pro League’s package hasn’t attracted a global audience despite the presence of superstars like Cristiano Ronaldo and Neymar.

Competitions like England’s top flight pull in fans from numerous foreign territories. These football lovers can explore various forms of media that are dedicated to the league, there are passionate rants online to engage with, and there are players like Mohamed Salah to back when it comes to

EPL betting

odds, with the Egyptian currently priced at 5/1 to finish top scorer. However, although it contains world-class players, the Saudi Pro League lags behind the biggest league around in almost every department. 

The heat is brutal 

Alongside the lesser overall product compared to domestic divisions like the Premier League, is a range of conditions that are making life in Saudi Arabia tough for many players to adjust to. Of course, in time, players will have more of an understanding of what a move to the Saudi Pro League entails, but there were evidently some elements that certain professionals underestimated. 

One notable issue is the heat, with Saudi Arabia’s scorching temperates resulting in certain players struggling to uncover their best performances. While training in the evenings certainly helps, it’s still around 40 degrees celsius in the daytime. Jordan Henderson, who

swapped life at Al-Ettifaq

for a move back to Europe with Ajax after less than six months, is apparently one professional who struggled to handle the hot temperatures. 

Attendances are a concern 

For any league to experience notable growth, attendances also need to be consistently solid. Alarmingly, though, despite acquiring players from some of

European football’s biggest clubs

, the small crowds in the competition have resulted in a disappointing spectacle. For fans tuning in around the world, there doesn’t appear to be much of an appetite for football in Saudi Arabia. 

For example, the aforementioned Henderson turned out for his new side at the time in front of a crowd of just 610. Likewise, Al-Riyadh have had fewer than 150 spectators cheering on their players on occasions this campaign. Additionally, only 257 fans took in the battle down at the bottom of the table between Abha and Al-Hazm. 

The nation's Public Investment Fund has big plans

Alongside the changes to their social lives and the apparent concerns around training facilities at certain clubs, it’s still a football competition with huge ambitions. After all, the Premier League hasn’t always pulled in millions of viewers. 

As such, while there will be growing concerns around some of the conditions Saudi Pro League players are struggling to adapt to, the nation's Public Investment Fund has the resources to combat some of them and the ability to continually attract stars from some of European football’s most prestigious clubs. 

source: SportMob

DISCLAIMER! Sportmob does not claim ownership of any of the pictures posted on this website. Again, we do not host pictures or videos ourselves. Our authors merely link to the rightful owner. Lastly, Sportmob have carefully considered and reviewed all of its content. Despite that, it is possible that some information might be out-dated or incomplete.