Nigeria international Plumptre joins Al Ittihad Ladies

Nigeria international Ashleigh Plumptre has signed for Saudi Arabian side Al Ittihad Ladies.

Both the club and the 25-year-old centre-back announced the news on their social media channels on Wednesday morning.

Plumptre played at England U23 level but has since become a senior Nigeria international, with 15 caps and played against the Lionesses as they lost on penalties in the last 16 of the Women’s World Cup this summer.

She arrives at Al Ittihad having left Leicester, her hometown club, as a free agent when her contract expired on July 13.

“Grateful to have signed for Al-Ittihad,” she said on X, formerly known as Twitter. “Excited to start this journey alongside some incredible human beings. My journey of stepping into more of myself continues… It’s more than football.”

Plumptre had spent three years with Leicester, during which she helped the Foxes win promotion to the Women’s Super League for the first time in the 2020/21 season.

Ashleigh Plumptre played in the World Cup for Nigeria
Plumptre played in the Women’s World Cup for Nigeria

Who has signed for Saudi Arabian clubs?

In the men’s game, the 2023 summer transfer window saw big-name players such as Neymar, Karim Benzema, Roberto Firmino, Sadio Mane and Aymeric Laporte all move to clubs in Saudi Arabia for lucrative offers.

With the Saudi transfer window now closed, Saudi Pro League clubs spent a whopping £784.2m during the summer, according to Transfermarkt data.

But 87 per cent of that spending was splashed out by just four clubs: Al Hilal, Al Ahli, Al Nassr and Al Ittihad. Those teams are the four Saudi Pro League clubs owned by the Public Investment Fund – who also own Newcastle.

Indeed, Al Hilal’s £302.1m net spend is more than any other club in the world this summer.

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