Richarlison could have left Tottenham Hotspur after just one year, since it has emerged he became a last-gasp target for Al-Ittihad.
Managed by former Spurs boss Nuno Espirito Santo (who was not at the club at the same time as Richarlison), the Saudi Pro League side focused heavily on trying to sign Mohamed Salah from Liverpool towards the end of their transfer window. However, the Reds stood firm and kept the Egypt international.
While that reality was setting in for Al-Ittihad, they turned their attention to Richarlison as a late plan B, it has been revealed by the Daily Telegraph.
The Brazil international endured a turbulent first season with Tottenham after leaving Everton. Indeed, he only scored once in the Premier League and twice in the Champions League, often having to play second fiddle to Harry Kane.
This season, after Kane’s departure to Bayern Munich, more opportunities may be forthcoming for Richarlison. However, there would have been a chance for him to leave for Saudi Arabia if he was unconvinced.
According to the Daily Telegraph, talks were held between Al-Ittihad and Richarlison’s intermediaries towards the end of the Saudi transfer window in September. Regardless, the deal progressed too late to materialise into anything concrete.
The report does not mention what kind of money Al-Ittihad would have been willing to give Tottenham for their £50-60m man, whose contract is valid until 2027.
Richarlison remains at Tottenham
Had he joined Al-Ittihad, Richarlison could have become part of the same squad as Karim Benzema, Fabinho and N’Golo Kante, while coming up against international colleagues like Roberto Firmino (Al-Ahli) and Neymar (Al-Hilal) in the Saudi Pro League. Instead, he will remain at Ange Postecoglou’s disposal until January at least.
And if Al-Ittihad revive their interest in any attacker in 2024, it is far more likely to be Salah – always the top target of the Saudi Pro League project – than Richarlison.
The 26-year-old must now focus on proving himself for Tottenham after taking his time to do so. It remains to be seen how patient the club will be with him if he continues to be shy in front of goal.