One unknown Saudi Arabian club is reportedly showing a keen interest in women’s football superstars Wendie Renard and Marta as their new season kicks off this weekend.
The surprising reports have emerged as the Saudi Women’s Premier League opens up the new season this weekend with a clash between Al Nassr and Al Riyadh. It also comes after several players are making the move to Saudi Arabia, with Ashleigh Plumptre and Leighanne Robe headlining the list.
A former member of Leicester City, Plumptree signed for Al-Ittihad just a month after representing Nigeria at the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup in Australia. The signing created ground-breaking news all around the world as the country begins to take important steps forward with its national women’s team.
It also comes after the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo, Neymar, Roberto Firminho, Karim Benzema, N’Golo Kante and Fabinho, among others, left their respective high-profile clubs to join the league in Saudi Arabia.
Now, it has been reported by The Athletic that Wendie Renard and Marta are on the transfer wishlist of at least one Saudi Arabian club; however, the club has yet to be named.
Having only just moved across to Saudi Arabia after a tenure with Manchester United, working there as a scout, Myles Smith has disclosed that clubs in the Saudi Women’s Premier League are open to signing some of the biggest names in women’s football over the course of the next few years.
“We conduct a thorough scouting report, and shortlist players who take our interest. We then get to know the player as a person — open and honest conversations about their values, our values, their ambitions, our ambitions,” Myles Smith told The Athletic.
“We will then make an offer for the player and go through our negotiations, led by our team manager and club directors, before ensuring a smooth and easy onboarding process, recognising that many internationals may not have been to this part of the world before. So we want them to feel as comfortable as we can.
“We have a shortlist of players we are interested in discussing things with. But, at the same time, my phone hasn’t stopped since the announcement of arriving here. Players all over the world, at the top, top level, have taken a huge interest. I’m talking players with more than five Champions League medals, World Cup medals and an array of individual accolades.
“In years to come, there is no reason why the Saudi Women’s Premier League cannot be a top women’s league in global football.”
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A world-class French international centre-back, Wendie Renard has been dubbed one of the all-time great defenders in women’s football and is also one of the most decorated players in club football – winning 14 French league titles with Lyon and eight European Cups.
Known for her strength, speed and amazing technique, Renard has made 152 appearances for France since making her debut in 2011. She has also been selected in the IFFHS World’s Women’s Team of the Decade (2011-20), IFFHS UEFA Women’s Team of the Decade (2011-20) and is a seven-time FIFPro: FIFA FifPro World XI member.
Also in consideration for the Saudi Arabian club is Brazilian legend Marta. Regarded across the world as the greatest female footballer of all time, Marta is a six-time FIFA World Player of the Year – five of those being consecutive between 2006 and 2010.
A UEFA Women’s Cup winner with Umeå IK in 2004, the attacker has managed 175 international caps for Brazil since 2002 and is a former Women’s World Cup Best Player and Golden Boot winner, along with being nominated as number seven in Sports Illustrated’s Top 20 Female Athletes of the Decade between 2000-2009.