New Delhi: Liverpool’s Jordan Henderson is close to join his former teammate Steve Gerrard at the Al-Ettifaq. The Reds agreed a fee in principle of £12m plus add-ons for their captain with the Saudi Pro League club.
Henderson absence in pre-season
Henderson was notably absentee from the Liverpool’s first friendly pre-season match on Wednesday, against Karlsruher SC in Germany. The 33-year-old English international agreed a contract with Al-Ettifaq and could go medicals within the weeks. The midfielder will sign 2-year deal with additional third.
Al-Ettifaq agree on fee structure
Al-Ettifaq, led by legendary Liverpool and Anfield manager Gerrard, have agreed to compromise on the transfer fee structure for players with two years left on their contracts.
Henderson was initially reluctant to move to Saudi Arabia with his family, but al-Ettifaq’s offer prompted him to reconsider. He also met with manager Jürgen Klopp about his prospects for the first team before deciding in principle to end his 12-year tenure at Merseyside.
Liverpool’s summer signing
Liverpool have signed Alexis Mac Allister and Dominic Szoboshlai for £35m and £60m respectively, and Klopp has been looking for a new midfielder even before Saudi Arabia’s interest in Henderson and Fabinho ended pre-season plans. Liverpool are still in talks with Al Itihad over Fabinho’s departure.
Al-Ittihad, unlike Al-Ettifaq, is one of four clubs in Saudi Arabia owned by the country’s public investment fund. The Brazilian international is expected to leave the club for around £40million. Two other Liverpool players, Luis Diaz and Thiago Alcantara, have attracted interest from the Saudi Pro League, but the club is expected to resist offers from the Colombian international.
What Klopp said on transfers
Klopp said of both deals “until things are really decided, we don’t need to talk about it” and there will probably come a moment when we need to talk about it, but not now. I have nothing to say at this time as nothing has been decided. Ultimately, all these decisions are made by me. I have a lot of respect for my players, so I often do it with their approval. In this case it was, and everything was fine. ”
LGBT+ community condemn Henderson Saudi’s move
Henderson’s potential move to a country where homosexuality is illegal has been condemned by Liverpool’s official LGBT supporter group Cop Out. As Liverpool captain, Henderson is a staunch supporter of the LGBTQ community and has been nominated for “Football Alley” at the 2021 LGBT Awards, writing in the program notes about standing “shoulder to shoulder” with those who want to feel left out.