Al-Ahli Summer Transfer Window

Al-Ahli Summer Transfer Window 2024 Analysis: Strategies, needs, areas for improvement, and financial capabilities

Al-Ahli had a good 2023-24 campaign on their return to the Saudi Pro League. They were relegated in the 2021-22 season to the Saudi First Division League but earned promotion right back.

They finished third in the Saudi top flight last season, 31 points behind champions Al-Hilal and 17 behind Al-Nassr. They managed 19 wins, eight draws and seven defeats in their 34 league games. They also ended the season well with three wins and one draw.

They arguably had lesser expectations last season, having been relegated the previous season. Hence, a third-place finish would be considered a good season. However, they will be disappointed with their performance in the King Cup of Champions.

Al-Malaki were eliminated from the competition in the Round of 16, losing 2-1 against Abha, who played with 10 men for most of the second half. Abha were also one of the three teams to have been relegated from the Saudi Pro League.

Al-Ahli will now look to learn from these disappointments and build for a big season ahead. They signed some good players last summer and will look to strengthen their squad further to compete with the likes of Al-Hilal and Al-Nassr.

Also Read: Al-Hilal Summer Transfer Window 2024 Analysis: Strategies, needs, areas for improvement, and financial capabilities

Transfer Strategy

Roberto Firmino
Roberto Firmino (Pic credits: Getty)

Al-Ahli was one of the Saudi Arabian clubs that brought in big European names last summer, spending loads on transfer fees. They signed the likes of Roberto Firmino, Riyad Mahrez, Gabri Veiga and Edouard Mendy.

Matthias Jaissle’s side are expected to continue in the same vein this summer. They will look to strengthen their squad further with some big names and experienced players. They could also sell some players who arrived last summer due to their underwhelming performances.

Areas for improvement

Goalkeeping

Al-Malaki’s first-choice goalkeeper is former Chelsea man Edouard Mendy and is likely to remain so in the 2024-25 season as well. Abdulrahman Al-Sanbi and Abdullah Abdo are also likely to continue as Mendy’s backups.

Defense

Al-Ahli conceded just 35 goals in 34 league games last season, level with fourth-placed Al-Taawoun. Only champions Al-Hilal and Al-Ettifaq conceded fewer goals. This is a good indication that their defense and goalkeeper performed brilliantly last season.

They could still look to add one more experienced fullback this summer but other than that, their defense looks solid.

Midfield

Franck Kessie
Franck Kessie (Pic credits: Getty)

Matthias Jaissle’s side made two big signings in midfield last summer, bringing in Franck Kessie and Gabriel Veiga. The duo, along with others, performed well throughout the season.

The club will, though, look to add more creativity in midfield and a player who can link midfield to attack better.

Attack

In attack, the likes of Roberto Firmino and Riyad Mahrez were quite impressive. Al-Ahli scored 67 goals in the league last season, the highest except for the top two. However, they were still 33 and 34 goals short from Al-Nassr and Al-Hilal respectively.

To close that gap, they will hope to make a marquee signing in attack, who could also form a lethal partnership with Firmino and Mahrez.

Also Read: Al-Nassr Summer Transfer Window 2024 Analysis: Strategies, needs, areas for improvement, and financial capabilities

Top Targets

Callum Wilson
Callum Wilson (Pic credits: Getty)

Al-Ahli have been linked with a number of players, especially in attack. One of them is Lille striker Jonathan David but it’s quite unlikely with other top European clubs also interested in signing him.

They have also been linked with Newcastle United striker Callum Wilson. The Englishman has become second choice at the club following Alexander Isak’s arrival. Genoa’s Albert Gudmundsson and VfB Stuttgart’s Serhou Guirassy have also been mentioned as Al-Malaki’s potential targets.

In defense, they have been linked with the likes of Olympique Marseille centre-back Chancel Mbemba and Al-Qadsiah right-back Mohammed Abdoulshamat.

Financial Capabilities

Al-Ahli spent over €184 million last season on new signings. Their highest transfer fee last season was €35 million for Riyad Mahrez but they signed a number of players to take the total fee above €180 million.

One can expect them to spend a similar amount this summer but on fewer players. Having already built a decent squad, they will now be looking to add more experience and big-name players. Hence, they are expected to spend more on each signing rather than bringing in loads of players.

Also Read: Al-Riyadh Summer Transfer Window 2024 Analysis: Strategies, needs, areas for improvement, and financial capabilities