It isn’t often you see players from the British Isles move abroad these days, is it? There were arguably more back in the 80’s and 90’s than the current day; Paul Gascoigne, Jimmy Greaves, Joe Jordan, Robbie Keane were the first to buck the trend in Italy. Then came the MLS revolution; Beckham, Rooney, Shaun Maloney and Gary Mackay-Steven…true stalwarts of British football moving across the Atlantic to pick up a final payday.

Now, football has started to grow in Asia. The rise of Chinese football has decimated wage budgets around the world; powerhouses such as Chelsea and Barcelona couldn’t even compete with the wages on show in the Far East. There remains a rather significant gap between the rest of the Asian clubs and Chinese clubs, but fear not fellow Celts – that gulf could be shortened before we know it…as Ryan Christie has been linked with a move to Saudi Arabian side Al-Hilal.

According to the Sun, Al-Hilal are prepared to offer the Inverness-born midfielder ‘a life-changing offer’ to move to the 67,000 seater King Fahd stadium, as new boss Leonardo Jardim has personally targeted him to replace Serie A winner and veteran midfielder Sebastian Giovinco.

Having been linked with Norwich, Burnley, Nice and Crystal Palace of recent, the signing of Christie would really rock the boat in terms of British players moving abroad to ply their trade – in fact, he’d become the first every British man to ever play in the Saudi Professional League.

It would be the most bizarre move in quite a while in terms of randomness – it is almost like we have skipped into season 2034/35 on Football Manager and watched the madness unfold. Whether the transfer happens or not, I’m unsure, but it wouldn’t surprise me if Christie was still on the British shores in a years time. Imagine him moving from ‘cold, bonny Scotland’ to the plus-40 degrees heat in Riyadh…

This article first appeared on The Celtic Star and was syndicated with permission.

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