- Ighalo leaving Al-Hilal
- Scored 19 goals last season
- Messi heavily linked with the Saudi club
WHAT HAPPENED? Al-Hilal have announced that striker Ighalo will leave the club after an 18-month spell. The news comes amid heavy speculation that Messi is set to join the Saudi club. His contract with Paris Saint-Germain recently came to an end, and Al-Hilal hope to announce his arrival in a matter of days. Currently, Saudi clubs are only allowed to register seven foreign players; as a result, many people are interpreting Ighalo's exit as a sign that Al-Hilal are making room for Messi in the first team.
THE BIGGER PICTURE: Al-Hilal's efforts to sign Messi reflect a broader movement among Saudi clubs to attract more top talent from across Europe. Karim Benzema has also been linked with a move to the Middle East this summer, while Cristiano Ronaldo has repeatedly made headlines since his move to Al-Nassr last year. Securing the signature of Messi would take things to the next level.
WHAT NEXT FOR IGHALO? Ighalo made a serious impact on the Saudi Pro League during his time there, scoring 42 goals in 57 games for Al-Hilal. The Nigeria international is never afraid of a fresh challenge, with his loan spell at Manchester United preceded by stints in the Chinese Super League with Changchun Yatai and Shanghai Shenhua, in the Premier League with Watford, and in La Liga with Granada. Who knows where he'll end up next?