There is a certain profile of footballer that many Saudi Pro League clubs have been targeting this summer as they look to acquire some huge names. Big name stars on the wrong side of 30 who still have a lot to offer and could be tempted to play in an easier league for a lot more money.
That is what has happened with players like Karim Benzema, Cristiano Ronaldo and N’Golo Kante. It could soon be what happens to Jordan Henderson, which would arguably be the biggest coup of them all in the sense that he is the captain of one of the biggest clubs in the world, and he is not out of contract and hasn’t been linked with a move away up until this point.
The man behind the rumours is likely Steven Gerrard, who is the new coach of Al Ettifaq, the team that wants to stuff Henderson’s mouth with gold to put his Premier League career behind him.
READ MORE ON THE PLAYERS LINKED TO SAUDI ARABIA & THE MONEY ON OFFER
The phrase ‘life-changing’ has been thrown around a lot this summer as a way of rationalising why players are deciding to move to Saudi Arabia.
Whilst the money on offer is life-changing, it takes extremely rich individuals to an even higher level of richness. The phrase ‘life-changing’ has to be contextualised. That aside, Al Ettifaq are willing to give Henderson four times more money than he currently earns at Liverpool.
At the moment, Henderson gets paid around £190,000 per week to be the captain of Liverpool, a club that he has been playing for since joining from Sunderland in 2011. If he makes the move to Saudi Arabia, he is set to be paid £700,000 per week…or £100,000 per day.
90min understands that Henderson hasn’t ruled out trading Merseyside for the middle east and Liverpool will not stand in his way if that is to be his decision.
Many fans have been very quick to criticise the midfielder for even entertaining the move. This is because Henderson strongly aligned himself with the Rainbow Laces campaign in 2021 and was quoted in a matchday programme saying: “I do believe when you see something that is clearly wrong and makes another human being feel excluded you should stand shoulder-to-shoulder with them.
“You also have a responsibility to educate yourself better around the challenges they experience. That’s where my own position on homophobia in football is rooted. Before I’m a footballer, I’m a parent, a husband, a son, a brother and a friend to the people in my life who matter so much to me. The idea that any of them would feel excluded from playing or attending a football match, simply for being and identifying as who they are, blows my mind.
“The idea they’d have to hide from it to be accepted? But that’s exactly how too many members of the LGBT+ community feel. We know this because they tell us. So we should listen, support them and work to make it better.”
Homosexuality remains illegal in Saudi Arabia and many are disappointed that, having shown such support on multiple occasions to the LGBTQ+ community, Henderson would willingly personally profit to such an enormous extent from a Saudi Arabian club.
LGBTQ+ fan group Kop Outs tweeted a statement in response to the news that Henderson may play in Saudi Arabia, which said: “Kop Outs have valued the allyship shown by Jordan Henderson.
“We are appalled and concerned that anyone might consider working for a #sportswashing operation for a regime where women & LGBT+ people are oppressed & that regularly tops the world death sentence table?
“We hope that Jordan Henderson proves to be a man of his word and stays true to the values of our club, which so far he has been an absolute embodiment of.”
On this week’s edition of Talking Transfers, part of the 90min podcast network, Scott Saunders is joined by Toby Cudworth and Graeme Bailey to discuss Tottenham rejecting a second bid for Harry Kane, Manchester United’s business, Romelu Lukaku’s Chelsea future, Paul Pogba being PIF’s number one target for the Saudi Pro League & more!
If you can’t see this embed, click here to listen to the podcast!