Man City to cough up £7M for Saudi Arabia star Al-Qahtani

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Al Qahtani, Asia's player of the year, has already been to City for secret talks - with owner Thaksin Shinawatra interested in the deal for football and financial reasons, says the People.

Saudi Arabia have never had a player in the English top flight and the City owner is keen to tap into the lucrative market of the football-mad Saudis.

However, City manager Sven Goran Eriksson is keen on Al Qahtani for purely football reasons with the striker being voted the best in Asia this month after starring for his club Al Hilal and his country over the last year.

A deal of around £7m will kick in if Al Qahtani settles in well at Eastlands and proves to be a success. City are trying to agree a £1m loan arrangement for the first 12 months in case the deal does not turn out well.