Romelu Lukaku sparks transfer debate with huge Saudi Pro League claim

  • Lukaku rejected transfer to Saudi Arabia last summer in favour of Roma loan
  • Belgian striker will return to Chelsea at the end of the current season
  • Reports state Lukaku will be available for £37m
Lukaku rejected Saudi Arabia in the past
Lukaku rejected Saudi Arabia in the past / Ivan Romano/GettyImages

Romelu Lukaku has reignited links with a possible transfer to Saudi Arabia by admitting he expects the Saudi Pro League to be "the best league in the world" in the coming years.

After his Chelsea return descended into farce, Lukaku was among the first big names given the chance to move to the Middle East, with Al Hilal quickly reaching out to the Belgian striker about a transfer.

Lukaku, however, rejected the switch as he hoped to seal a return to Inter, before some behind-the-scenes shenanigans with Juventus ultimately led to both sides withdrawing their interest and allowed Roma to swoop in and sign him on a season-long loan.

Roma have recently been training in Saudi Arabia, and it was after one of these sessions that Lukaku was asked for his feelings on the Saudi Pro League.

"In the next two years I see this league becoming one of the best in the world, if not the best," Lukaku told Riyadiya TV. "The clubs make a lot of efforts to bring the 'big' players here. As a result, the teams and the footballing qualities are improving significantly."

Provocatively asked whether Saudi fans would see Lukaku in the Middle East again one day, the Belgian responded: "Absolutely."


Lukaku's loan with Roma does not include the option for a permanent transfer, although it is understood that the striker's representatives have reached an agreement with Chelsea which will see him put on the market for £37m when he returns this summer.

Whether Roma will opt to meet such a demand is unclear following the departure of manager Jose Mourinho, who helped get a deal for Lukaku over the line last year.

What is certain is Chelsea's desire to part ways with Lukaku, who has now spent the past two seasons out on loan in Serie A after his return to Stamford Bridge turned into a nightmare almost immediately.

The Blues spent £97.5m to re-sign Lukaku in 2021 but fans watched on in horror after the striker conducted an unapproved interview in which he confirmed his desire to return to Inter in the future and questioned his fit under then-manager Thomas Tuchel.

Lukaku would score eight goals in 26 Premier League games across the season before a loan return to Inter, and a permanent transfer seemed plausible before secret talks with Juventus saw things collapse in spectacular fashion and opened the door for Roma.