Former English right-back, Glen Johnson, has weighed in on the trend of footballers accepting lucrative offers from the Saudi Pro League, emphasizing the financial allure of such opportunities.
He expressed that players would be “crazy” to decline the substantial financial incentives offered in the Middle East.
This summer, several high-profile stars, including Karim Benzema, Neymar, and Sadio Mane, made moves to the Saudi Pro League, sparking both praise and criticism.
Johnson, who had a successful career in the Premier League, shared his perspective, saying, “After being successful in the biggest league in the world, you don’t have too much to prove.”
He added, “If you’re not playing in England anymore, then, of course, to go out and experience life in a different place, why not? When I was 23, I wouldn’t have considered it, but if I were 32, I’d definitely explore new options.”
He went on to emphasize the irresistible financial incentives offered to players, especially those in the latter stages of their careers, saying, “For these guys, let’s be honest, the money’s hard to turn down. Some of the older guys, you’d be crazy to say no.”
However, he expressed reservations about younger players opting for such moves, as it could potentially hinder their careers.
Johnson also touched on the case of Jordan Henderson, who faced criticism after transferring from Liverpool to Al-Ettifaq.
Johnson, a former teammate of Henderson, urged people to judge players’ decisions based on footballing factors rather than politics.
He commented, “As a player, you want to play in the best league, and we all know that the [Saudi Pro] league is not the best league.”
Johnson further stressed that players, being focused on their careers, might not have in-depth knowledge of political matters and should not be subjected to such questions.