Karim Benzema, Al-Ittihad

Al-Ittihad Transfers 2024: Needs, Targets, Potential Signings and Outgoings

Al-Ittihad Transfers 2024: An Overview

Defending Saudi Pro League champions Al-Ittihad have endured a challenging start to their campaign this time around. They are languishing in eighth place, with just 28 points from 18 games so far. The nine-time SPL champions’ fall from grace has been quite remarkable, to say the least.

The club was founded nearly a century ago in 1927 and enjoyed most of its domestic success in the 2000s, winning the league title five times during that phase. Led by star players Abderrazak Hamdallah and Romarinho in recent times, the club returned to where they belong as they won the SPL in style last season, earning 72 points from their 30 games.

This year, however, despite recruiting Karim Benzema and N’Golo Kante in groundbreaking deals, Al-Ittihad have fallen off majorly. That said, let’s take a look at what they could do to rectify their current situation and what they need.

N'Golo Kante, Al-Ittihad

Al-Ittihad Transfers 2024: What do they need?

  • Al-Ittihad have already conceded twice the number of goals this season (26) in just 18 games than they did in the entirety of last season’s 30 games (13).
  • They are averaging 1.4 goals conceded per game currently compared to just 0.4 goals conceded per game last season.
  • They won 22 games last season and will not achieve that tally even if they win all their remaining 12 games – a worrying drop in a team’s ability to earn results.
  • Last season, Al-Ittihad created 2.8 big chances per game and averaged 2.0 goals per game. This season, they are creating at a higher 3.3 big chances per game but average 1.9 goals per game.
  • Al-Ittihad kept the ball for an average 51% of the time in their games last season, which has increased to nearly 56% this season, but resulted in a drop in productive output on both the defensive and offensive ends.

Manager Marcelo Gallardo will need to sit with the club’s board and ideally look into bringing a quality ball-playing defender and a versatile midfielder to partner with Kante. This will allow them to progress the ball to their top-notch forwards and would lead to fewer sideways passes being played. This could solve their problem of lack of productivity with the ball. Al-Ittihad could also look into signing a marquee goalkeeper who could come up clutch in crucial situations.

Additionally, it seems they are struggling to accommodate Karim Benzema seamlessly in the starting lineup. Hamdallah has dropped into a ‘number 10’ role, with Romarinho being pushed wide onto the wings. A change in tactical approach and formation could also prove to be helpful.

ALSO READ: Al-Ittihad Eyes Atletico Forward Angel Correa in Potential €60 Million Deal.

Al-Ittihad Transfers 2024: Potential Targets & Signings


Marquinhos, PSG

The versatile, ball-playing Brazilian could prove to be a solution for multiple problems Al-Ittihad are currently facing in the defensive third. Marquinhos is adept at progressing the ball with either his wide range of passing, or by carrying it forward himself. He is a pacey defender who likes to stay close to his markers and has good positional sense as well.

Having joined Paris Saint-Germain back in 2013, Marquinhos has made 426 appearances for the club, scoring 38 goals as well. During this time, he has won 28 major honors with PSG, including eight Ligue 1 titles.

Aged 29, the opportunity to secure one last big contract could be on the cards, with Al-Ittihad more than equipped to meet the player’s demands. However, his current contract with PSG expires in 2028 so they could demand a big transfer fee.

Javi Martinez

The former Bayern Munich and Athletic Bilbao player is currently plying his trade for Qatar SC in the Qatar Stars League.

A strong and versatile player who can play in both central defence as well as midfield, Martinez possesses a unique ability to play the ball out from the back. He also uses his physicality well and is good with aerial duels. The Spaniard’s addition could help restore some defensive solidity in the team.

Despite being 35 and nearing the end of his career, he could provide bags of experience and also act as cover for an Al-Ittihad side in need.

Manuel Neuer

Manuel Neuer, Bayern Munich

The iconic German goalkeeper is one short of making his 500th appearance for Bayern Munich, having spent over 12 remarkable years with the Bavarian club. However, aged 37, there is no guarantee whether he will be able to retain his spot as the club’s starting goalkeeper.

Known for revolutionizing the game with his ‘sweeper-keeper’ style of play in the 2010s, Neuer burst onto the scene with FC Schalke, before moving to Bayern. In 702 appearances for the two clubs, he has kept a stunning 319 clean sheets and has conceded just 589 goals.

With just over a year left on his current deal, Al-Ittihad could make a big statement by going in for the player with a big-money move.

Al-Ittihad Transfers 2024: Potential Departures

As of now, just one player has been linked with a possible move away, and that is none other than marquee forward Karim Benzema.

Having joined less than six months ago, the Frenchman could be offered a way back into European football by PSG, led by president Nasser Al-Khelaifi’s efforts. He wants to bring Benzema to Paris on a short loan deal to see the Parisians until the end of the season, with a possible option of extending the deal.

A return to his homeland could be very tempting for Karim Benzema but it remains to be seen whether Al-Ittihad have any intentions of letting him leave.

ALSO READ: Al-Hilal Transfers 2024: Needs, Targets, Potential Signings and Outgoings.