Neymar Jr.
Brazil and PSG forward Neymar Jr.

The Saudi Pro League appears to be on a roll. The arrival of Cristiano Ronaldo in January appears to have opened the floodgates for the country to have confidence in their ability to attract Europe's biggest stars.

News of Al Hilal's $1.1 billion offer for Kylian Mbappe have surfaced in the past few days, and now even his Paris Saint-Germain teammate Neymar Jr. and FC Barcelona forward Robert Lewandowski are reportedly being targeted by Saudi Arabia.

Ronaldo, Benzema set the precedent

Just before the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar, Ronaldo opened up about his struggles with Premier League side Manchester United. This led to a mutual agreement to terminate his contract with the Red Devils. He was not left unemployed for long, with Saudi club Al-Nassr jumping in to sign him during the winter.

Ronaldo moved to the Middle East in January, bringing millions of eyes, ears and camera lenses with him. The Saudi Pro League started to become a constant trending topic worldwide, but things became serious when the summer window opened. Real Madrid forward and current Ballon d'Or holder Karim Benzema made the shock decision not to renew with the Spanish giants in favour of a move to Saudi champions Al-Ittihad.

Benzema is arguably still at the peak of his career, and his decision appeared to fuel the Saudi clubs' confidence that they can tempt the best European players with big-money deals. An attempt to land Lionel Messi did not prove fruitful, but offers have continued to pour in for many other players from Europe's top leagues.

The much talked-about Mbappe deal

Kylian' Mbappe's transfer saga has been all over the headlines as of late, with a purported $1.1 billion from Al-Hilal reportedly on the table. PSG are keen on making the deal happen, as this would save them from the risk of losing the player on a free transfer next summer. Mbappe's family is said to also be on board, but the player is determined to either stay at PSG this coming season and move to Real Madrid in 2024.

The Al-Hilal deal reportedly allows him to pursue his dream of joining Los Blancos, with only a year-long contract on the table. However, the player has not made a decision yet, and Real Madrid are also choosing to stay calm over the transfer.

More big-name targets emerge

Now that Saudi Arabia is openly going after a European superstar who is still on the rise and nowhere near the twilight of his career, more names are being linked with the oil-rich country. According to CBS reporter Ben Jacobs., a total budget of £17billion has been earmarked by the Ministry of Sport of Saudi Arabia, which will be used to facilitate player transfers for a seven-year period until 2030.

Real Madrid's midfield genius Luka Modric has reportedly been approached by a Saudi club this summer, but the Croatian captain decided to sign an extension with the Spanish giants until 2024. He may have opted to stay in Spain for now, but he is still part of the long-term plan in Saudi Arabia. Someone will likely be knocking on his door again next summer when it's time to make a decision on his future.

Neymar Jr. is still under contract with PSG, but the player could be tempted with a £172m a year contract with Al-Hilal. Meanwhile, Lewandowski is still aiming for great things with FC Barcelona, and is not thinking of a move this year. However, he has reportedly been put on a list alongside other stars who may continue to be in the Saudi radar. Son Heung-min, RomeluLukaku and Jamie Vardy have all been linked with Saudi Arabia, but are believed to be staying in Europe at least for now.

Saudi Arabia has managed to convince a slew of talents

While some high profile players are yet to be convinced, Saudi Arabia is already welcoming a slew of other stars. Manchester City's Riyad Mahrez has agreed to join Al-Ahli on a £500,000-a-week contract. He will be joining former Chelsea player Edouard Mendy, who has also joined Al-Ahli.

Another former Chelsea player, Kalidou Kouliably, is now with Al-Hilal. Bernardo Silva and Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson are also being linked with a move to the Middle East sooner rather than later.