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'I only left Liverpool for money so I can understand Saudi Pro League transfer temptation'

Graeme Souness walks down the touchline at Old Trafford alongside Ian Wright and Roy Keane.
-Credit: (Image: Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)


Former Liverpool midfielder Graeme Souness says he wouldn’t blame Manchester City midfielder Kevin De Bruyne if he decides to move to the Saudi Pro League this summer. Reds forward Mohamed Salah and goalkeeper Alisson Becker have also been targeted for big-money transfers to the Middle East.

Speaking on Three Up Front, a William Hill podcast, Souness said: "I was guilty of leaving for money when I left Liverpool. I said I was going to live in Italy because I’d earn a lot more money I was very honest about that.

"In the case of Kevin De Bruyne, in the past two years, he’s missed something like 39 games, and it’s closer to 50 over three seasons. That’ll only get worse as well with age and with the physicality of the Premier League."

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While De Bruyne admitted that a move to Saudi Arabia was something he would consider earlier this week in a chat with HLN, there is no suggestion that Salah or Alisson want to make the switch away from Anfield. They are both still at the top of their game and with Liverpool returning to the Champions League next season, it would be a surprise if either had even seriously thought about an exit.

But that is going to be the case forever. Souness added: "There was a black and white moment towards the end of my career where I thought, ‘I’m [physically] done at this level’ — I was 34 playing for Glasgow Rangers, there was a player called Ian Ferguson who just brushed me aside and took the ball, and I thought, ‘did that just happen?’

Sadio Mane and Cristiano Ronaldo look on during a Saudi Pro League game for Al Nassr.

"I don’t hold anything against the likes of Lionel Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo for what they’re doing — they’ve earned their stripes. You look at Messi going to Miami, which is a Latin city and somewhere where his kids and family can grow up and be happy. If De Bruyne were to do the same with Saudi I wouldn’t have any complaints."

Liverpool.com says: De Bruyne has picked up a lot of injuries lately but when he plays, he is still at the very top of his game. Only Cole Palmer and Ollie Watkins picked up more assists than the Belgian in the Premier League last season and he only made 15 starts because of a hamstring injury that meant he missed most of the first half of the campaign.