Silva ‘fully committed’ to Fulham after Saudi offer

Fulham manager turns down lucrative deal

NEW YORK: Fulham manager Marco Silva said Sunday he was “fully committed” to the club after turning down a lucrative offer from Saudi Arabian side Al-Ahli. Reports in Britain said the Portuguese manager had been offered a two-year deal worth £40 million ($51 million) as Saudi’s Pro League continues its lucrative recruitment drive. However, speaking ahead of Fulham’s pre-season friendly with Brentford in Philadelphia on Sunday, Silva confirmed he was staying with the west London Premier League club. “My commitment to this club has been 100 percent since the first day I signed and it will continue this way,” Silva told NBC Sports.

“It was a decision that I made. I spoke with the people in the club and like I was before last season, and two seasons ago, I’m fully committed to the club and will continue this way. “Offers are part of the business…it’s up to us to think, always respecting the club that you are working for. It’s what I have done always in my career and I will keep doing.” Silva, 46, joined Fulham in 2021, leading them to promotion to the Premier League from the Championship in his first season before guiding them to 10th in the top-flight last term.

Al-Ahli have signed Riyad Mahrez from Manchester City, Liverpool’s Roberto Firmino and Edouard Mendy from Chelsea in recent months. The signings are part of a broader hiring spree by the Pro League, which is backed by the country’s sovereign wealth fund. Cristiano Ronaldo signed for Saudi club Al Nassr earlier this year while other stars heading to the Pro League include Karim Benzema and French World Cup winner N’Golo Kante. Silva meanwhile was left satisfied on Sunday after watching Fulham complete a 3-2 win over Brentford in their pre-season game, part of the Premier League Summer Series.

Goals from Harry Wilson, Bobby Decordova-Reid and Carlos Vinicius secured victory with Yoane Wissa and Kristoffer Ajer scoring for Brentford. Al Hilal-Mbappe deal in another development, Paris Saint-Germain have given Saudi club Al Hilal permission to speak to Kylian Mbappe after tabling a world record 300-million-euro ($333 million) bid, a source close to the negotiations told AFP on Monday. The Riyadh-based club has made a formal offer by letter, the source said, but such a transfer could only be made with the agreement of Mbappe who has never expressed an interest in moving to the fast-growing Saudi league.

“The club has given permission to Al Hilal to speak with Mbappe. That’s the request of the letter and that’s been granted,” the source said. Mbappe has one year left on his contract with PSG, who want him to leave now rather than for nothing next summer. But Mbappe, 24, is refusing to sign a new contract and the French champions believe he has already struck a deal to move to Real Madrid next year. The source said Real Madrid were among a group of clubs which had also expressed an interest in Mbappe. “In the group so far that have expressed their interest there are Manchester United, Inter Milan, Barcelona, Tottenham and obviously the Saudi club and Real Madrid,” the source said. – AFP

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