Former Liverpool midfielder and current Al-Ettifaq manager Steven Gerrard is reportedly facing disappointment in his pursuit of signing fellow former Liverpool teammate Jordan Henderson. According to reports, Al-Ettifaq had initiated exploratory talks with intermediaries acting on behalf of Henderson, but the 33-year-old England midfielder is said to be reluctant to join the Saudi Pro League at this stage of his career.
Gerrard, who was appointed as the manager of the Saudi Arabian club last week, is said to have identified Henderson and Chelsea striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang as his top targets. However, Al-Ettifaq would need to persuade Liverpool to let Henderson leave, following the departure of several other key players this summer, including James Milner, Roberto Firmino, Naby Keita, and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.
While Al-Ettifaq have reportedly made an offer to Aubameyang, talks with the 34-year-old striker have not yet taken place. If signed, Aubameyang would become the latest Chelsea star to head to the Saudi league, following in the footsteps of N’Golo Kante, Kalidou Koulibaly, and Edouard Mendy.
In an interview following his appointment, Gerrard explained his reasons for joining Al-Ettifaq and expressed his hopes of making the Saudi Pro League one of the best leagues in the world. He cited the ambitious football project, the right challenge and remit, and a secure contract as the three things he always considers before making a move.
Gerrard expressed his excitement and happiness on joining Al-Ettifaq, and his ambition to work tirelessly to make sure the team is competitive. With the support of the government, ministers, clubs, supporters, and players, he believes that the league will continue to grow and evolve, and that together, they can achieve their goals of making it one of the best leagues in the world.
In conclusion, while Gerrard faces disappointment in his bid to sign Henderson for Al-Ettifaq, he remains optimistic about the future of the Saudi Pro League and his role in making it a world-class league.