Punching their weight: Liverpool Jurgen Klopp celebrates the win at West Ham
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp AFP News

According to Liverpool FC manager Jurgen Klopp, steps must be taken by football's governing bodies to protect European football from the "massive" threat coming from Saudi Arabia.

The summer transfer window has been some kind of a revelation after Saudi Pro League clubs appeared to realise that they have the power to attract Europe's biggest stars thanks to their ability to offer much more lucrative deals than their European counterparts.

The arrival of Portuguese superstar Cristiano Ronaldo back in January appeared to empower Saudi clubs. The former Manchester United forward joined Al-Nassr on a free transfer after a mutual agreement to terminate his contract with the Red Devils late last year. He has since drawn the spotlight towards the Middle East, raising the profile of the Saudi Pro League to an international level they have never enjoyed before.

While Ronaldo made a massive impact, it seemed at that time that the Saudi Pro League would become a retirement plan for European stars who are nearing the end of their careers. This is a similar scenario to what has been happening in Major League Soccer in the United States as well as the high-paying Chinese Super League over the past several years.

However, the arrival of current Ballon d'Or holder Karim Benzema this summer triggered an avalanche that caught Europe by surprise. Benzema is arguably still at the peak of his career and was the captain of Real Madrid. He was widely expected to extend his contract with the Spanish giants, but his sudden decision to join Saudi Arabian side Al-Ittihad led to a slew of other contract offers to big-name players.

The likes of Lionel Messi, Luka Modric and even Kylian Mbappe have reportedly received eye-watering offers from Saudi clubs, clearly proving how boldly empowered they have become. While these stars have so far resisted the lure of oil money, others have taken the bait.

Liverpool has become a shopping mall

Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson is perhaps one of the biggest names from the Premier League to make the jump over to Saudi Arabia. He has become the highest paid England footballer after joining Al-Ettifaq for £12 million. He has joined the side which is now under the management of Liverpool legend Stephen Gerrard. Henderson will be earning a salary of £700,000-a-week tax free, which is four times more than what he was earning at Liverpool and also three times more than England captain Harry Kane.

Brazilian midfielder Fabinho has also agreed to join Al-Ittihad for £40 million. He will be joining both Karim Benzema and N'Golo Kante at his new club.

Liverpool legend Roberto Firmino did not extend his deal with Liverpool this summer, and instead opted to join Saudi Pro League club Al-Ahli.

Klopp thinks Europe could get "plundered" by Saudi Arabia

Klopp has pointed out that while the European transfer window ends on September 1, Saudi Arabian clubs still have their window open all the way until September 20. This leaves a few more weeks in which players can be plucked away from European teams that have already started their competitive campaigns.

"Pretty much the worst thing is that the transfer window in Saudi Arabia is open for three weeks longer. At least in Europe, that's not helpful. So UEFA and FIFA must find solutions for that," said Klopp, as quoted by The Sun.

He also admitted that the oil rich country has a "massive" influence that can't be denied and that both FIFA and UEFA should take action.

The seemingly endless resources of these Saudi Pro League sides are allowing them to trigger release clauses that were previously enough to fend off interested competitors from poaching valuable talent.

Manchester City face a similar problem

Premier League champions Manchester City were previously seen as the oil rich threat to other European clubs due to their Abu Dhabi based owners. However, even they have not been able to stop the Saudi threat.

Riyad Mahrez left Man City to join Al-Ahli this summer, making it clear that no one is safe. While European clubs are governed by strict Financial Fair Play rules, these are much harder to implement when it comes to state backed clubs in the Middle East. It remains to be seen if FIFA and UEFA will take any action.