Liverpool fans were left shocked as news broke that their captain, Jordan Henderson, was set to leave Anfield for Saudi Arabian side Al-Ettifaq. The move, which has been in the works for some time, is expected to be officially confirmed by both clubs in the next 24 hours.
Henderson has been offered a staggering £700,000-a-week deal to link up with former Liverpool legend Steven Gerrard’s team, who are currently in Croatia on a pre-season camp. The Reds will receive a transfer fee of around £12million for the midfielder.
The 33-year-old, who has spent 12 years at Liverpool, flew to Croatia to complete formalities on Wednesday and to meet his new team-mates. It is believed that he did not take the decision to leave Liverpool lightly and held talks with Jurgen Klopp over his gametime this season, given the summer revamp in midfield areas. Henderson also spoke to Gareth Southgate about how a potential move could impact his minutes for the national team.
However, Henderson has faced criticism from LGBTQ+ organisations for his move to the Saudi Pro League club, given the country’s stance on homosexuality and human rights record. While Henderson has not commented on the controversy surrounding his move, it is sure to be a topic of discussion in the coming days.
Meanwhile, Liverpool will now turn their attention to signing Southampton defensive midfielder Romeo Lavia. The club had a bid of £35m plus add-ons rejected on Tuesday, with the Championship club holding out for a fee of £50m. Klopp’s side are expected to make an improved offer.
Henderson’s departure marks the end of an era at Liverpool. In his twelve years on Merseyside, he lifted seven major trophies – including the Premier League and Champions League – and spent the last eight seasons as captain of the club. Liverpool fans will undoubtedly be sad to see him go, but they will wish him well in his new adventure.
Liverpool will now travel to Singapore for two friendlies against Leicester and Bayern Munich, before playing German side Darmstadt at Preston North End’s Deepdale on August 7. Their first league match of the season is away at Chelsea.