Football News

Jota ‘nears Al Ittihad exit’ just one month after Saudi Pro League transfer

By James Amey

Published: 15:08, 21 August 2023 | Updated: 21:46, 23 August 2023

After just two substitute appearances, Jota’s time at Al Ittihad may already be coming to an end.

The Saudi Pro League has signed some of the best players from around Europe this season, with Al Ittihad being one of the beneficiaries.

Real Madrid legend Karim Benzema, who was last season’s top scorer in La Liga and the current Ballon d’Or holder, arrived on a free transfer. As did Chelsea midfielder N’Golo Kante.  Meanwhile, a combined £65m was spent bringing in Fabhinho from Liverpool and Jota, who after two years at Celtic Park set out for a new challenge.


But just over one month on from his £25m move and his bizzare announcement video, it seems the 24-year-old’s Saudi Arabian chapter of his career may be coming to a close. The Portuguese winger spent two years at Celtic, scoring 28 times and providing 26 assists in 83 appearances during at Parkhead, where he won successive Scottish Premiership titles and helped secure the domestic treble last term under new Tottenham manager Ange Postecoglu.

This summer he joined up with a former Spurs head coach in Nuno Espírito Santo at Al Ittihad.

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The Jeddah-based side are the early league leaders, having won both of their opening matches without conceding. They are aiming to win the title for a second consecutive season after lifting the trophy for the first time in 14 years last term.

However, unlike Benzema, Kante and Fabinho, who have all gone straight into the starting XI, Jota has been limited to just 16- and 15-minute cameos in the opening two matches of the 2023/24 campaign.

This has led to widespread reports of an imminent departure for the former Celtic man, with former player Mohammed Noor speaking publicly about the situation.

“It has been clear through recent matches that Jota is not suitable to play for the club,” he is quoted by the Glasgow Times.

“Acknowledging this and making the change now is much better than continuing with him during the whole season and failing later. I think the management of Al Ittihad deserves a lot of credit for having the courage to make this decision.”

But where next for the 24-year-old? A return to Celtic Park, a new chapter somewhere else or a reunion with Big Ange at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.