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17th Jan 2024

Jordan Henderson reaches agreement to leave Al Ettifaq after just six months

Charlie Herbert

Jordan Henderson

Henderson had previously said the Saudi Pro League would be ‘one of the best leagues in the world’

Jordan Henderson has reached an agreement to terminate his contract at Al Ettifaq and leave the club after just six months.

The former Liverpool midfielder is close to joining Ajax permanently and is in the process of finalising the termination of his contract in Saudi Arabia, the Athletic reports.

No transfer fee will be involved in the midfielder’s exit and he has already agreed on a move to Ajax in principle.

In recent weeks, reports had emerged that Henderson was desperate to leave the Saudi Pro League club.

The move comes just six months after Henderson joined Al Ettifaq for £12m on a three year contract, ending a 12-year spell at Liverpool where he won the Champions League, Premier League, FA Cup and League Cup.

This season in the Saudi Pro League, Henderson played 17 times for Steven Gerrard’s side, registering four assists.

Speaking about his move at the time, the midfielder said he wanted to “achieve something special and build a club and build the league”.

He told the Athletic: “I wanted something that would excite me. But it needed to be something that I felt as though I could add value in and do and try something new — a new challenge and for different reasons.

“And this opportunity with Stevie (Gerrard) in a totally different league and totally different culture was something completely different, that maybe it would excite us in terms of the project that was put in front of us, in terms of the league and using my experience to try to help with that in many different areas and feeling that people value.

“It’s nice to feel wanted. I know Stevie really wanted me. I know the club really wanted me to go and they wanted us to try and build over the next few years — something that is here to stay and be one of the best leagues in the world.”

His move to a country where being gay is illegal sparked particular anger following his vocal support in the past for the LGBTQ+ community.

Speaking about the criticism of his move, Henderson said: “I can understand the frustration. I can understand the anger. I get it. All I can say around that is that I’m sorry that they feel like that. My intention was never, ever to hurt anyone. My intention has always been to help causes and communities where I felt like they have asked for my help.

“I think people know what my views and values were before I left and still do now. And I think having someone with those views and values in Saudi Arabia is only a positive thing.”

“I’m going to a different country where the laws of the country might be different.

“Now, I see that as a positive thing. I see that because, from their (Saudi) side, they knew that before signing it. So they knew what my beliefs were. They knew what causes and campaigns I’ve done in the past and not once was it brought up. Not once have they said, ‘You can do this, you can’t do this.’ And I think it can only be a positive thing to try to open up like around Qatar.”

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