La Liga sides Villarreal, Leganés and Levante announced loan signings of Saudi Arabia internationals until the end of the season as part of "an agreement between La Liga and the Arab state's authorities," according to the PA. Spanish second division sides Sporting Gijón, Numancia, Rayo Vallecano and Real Valladolid also participated in the deal, with a statement from the league's organizing body saying that "a total of nine players would move to Spain, including two academy players" (PA, 1/21). In Madrid, Alberto Rubio reported Yahya Al-Shehri signed for Leganés, with Marwan Othman "heading to the club's junior ranks." Fahad Al-Muwallad went on loan to Levante while Salem Al Dawsari signed for Villarreal. These deals are part of a project in which La Liga, the General Sports Authority of Saudi Arabia and the Saudi Arabian Football Federation "look to boost their respective football brands." None of the players "will arrive at any cost, nor will their salaries be paid by any of the Spanish teams involved" (MARCA, 1/21).
AFE QUESTIONS DEAL: MUNDO DEPORTIVO reported the Spanish Footballers' Association (AFE) questioned the agreement because "it prioritizes the economic aspect over the sporting aspect" and "puts business before the promotion and development of players" (MUNDO DEPORTIVO, 1/22).