A new rule being implemented in the Saudi Pro League could have implications for Tottenham Hotspur in the upcoming transfer window, TEAMtalk can reveal.
From January, the number of foreign players allowed in any Saudi club’s matchday squad is set to be changed from six to 10.
This could mean that players in Saudi linked with an exit could have to wait until the end of the season to return to European football.
Jota is one player who is liked by several European clubs, including Tottenham. However, Spurs may now have to wait until next summer to sign him.
The former Celtic winger joined Al-Ittihad in a deal worth just over £26m, breaking the Scottish transfer record previously held by Arsenal full-back Kieran Tierney.
Celtic were happy to receive a high fee for Jota, who had been incredible in a treble-winning campaign last season.
The 24-year-old has endured a difficult start to life in Saudi Arabia, finding himself left out of the At-Ittihad squad on a few occasions.
Jota has been more involved in recent weeks, however. The attacker has made five league appearances overall, scoring once.
The implementation of the new squad rules will also mean his side can add more European names and retain Jota within the squad. TEAMtalk understands that this makes a January departure less likely for him.
Tottenham will have to wait to sign Jota
TEAMtalk can confirm Ange Postecoglou is very keen on signing Jota for Tottenham. The manager coached him at Celtic, but it seems he could have to wait until next summer to get his man.
Spurs are not alone in their interest, though, with multiple Champions League sides keeping a close eye on Jota, according to TEAMtalk sources close to the player.
This could bring about an interesting bidding war at the end of the season, with the Portugal international expected to be available for around £30m.
In the meantime, Postecoglou is very keen to add to his squad in the January, with Tottenham suffering multiple injury setbacks to what was already a thin squad.
Attacking options are key, which is why Postecoglou’s former player Jota is currently on his radar.
A central midfielder is also a target for Spurs, with Ruben Neves being one of the names on their shortlist.
Neves also plays for a Saudi club in Al-Hilal, and is open to a move in January. Spurs face competition from Arsenal and Newcastle for the midfielder and that may force them to move on to other targets.
Bournemouth defender Lloyd Kelly is another player Postecoglou is keen on, as the Australian boss wants to add more quality to his defensive options.
The expectancy is that Jota will indeed return to Europe despite only making the switch to Saudi a few months ago. At this stage, though, it seems he could be forced to wait until the end of the season.