Exclusive: Inside Jordan Henderson’s Al-Ettifaq exit

When Al-Ettifaq signed Jordan Henderson in July 2023 it was a statement of intent. To poach the Liverpool captain was a coup for not just Ettifaq but the wider Saudi Pro League.

It wasn’t an easy deal to pull off. Ettifaq are not one of the PIF-controlled clubs and operate off a modest budget. Plus, Henderson had rejected their first offer, and senior figures at Liverpool thought he’d stay at Anfield right up until the 48 hours before he departed.

Driving the Henderson deal was Hatim Al-Misehal, the club’s former vice-president, who now heads up the club’s sporting committee. His brother, Samer Al-Misehal, is the relatively new club president and has a significant say on signings and strategy as well.

Hatim played a key role in convincing Henderson to join. And naturally the finances played a part; but despite some reports, Henderson was not earning £700k-per-week. Saudi sources insist his salary was £8m-per-year, but it would have been tax free had he stayed in Saudi for two years.

Ettifaq actually pushed hard to sign Henderson on a free transfer but eventually agreed a £4m fee, lower, club sources claim, than the £12m number that is widely reported. Liverpool also inserted a sell-on clause.

In the same window Ettifaq also added Scottish centre-back Jack Hendry from Club Brugge and striker Moussa Dembele from Lyon. Gerrard personally pitched to each of them, but was especially hands on with Henderson.

The Ettifaq boss, who recently signed a new contract until summer 2027, was also hired directly by Hatim following several Zoom meetings and an in-person interview in Dammam. Gerrard was asked to make his decision very quickly, and despite publicly stating he wouldn’t be moving to Saudi, he accepted the role a few weeks later.

Gerrard and Henderson arriving was particularly special for Hatim since he’s a self-proclaimed Liverpool fan, who will attend February’s League Cup Final when Jurgen Klopp’s side take on Chelsea. He was suddenly rubbing…


Source link : https://www.caughtoffside.com/2024/02/09/exclusive-inside-jordan-hendersons-al-ettifaq-exit/

Author : Ben Jacobs

Publish date : 2024-02-09 14:02:31

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