Saudi Arabian club Al Ettifaq could go on a huge spending spree after appointing Steven Gerrard as their new manager, with players from Liverpool, Chelsea and Aston Villa reportedly on their radar.
Gerrard was sacked by Aston Villa in October 2022 after 11 months in charge. That came in the immediate aftermath of Villa’s dreadful 3-0 defeat to Fulham, which meant they only won two out of their first 12 Premier League games.
Gerrard was then linked with the Leeds United, Paris Saint-Germain and Poland national team jobs. But he has now ended up at Al Ettifaq, having joined them on a two-year contract on Monday.
When announcing the Englishman’s arrival, Al Ettifaq’s chairman said he would provide ‘a quantum leap to our league’.
According to CBS Sports journalist Ben Jacobs, Al Ettifaq have ‘ambitious spending plans’ under Gerrard and their early targets include Villa playmaker Philippe Coutinho and free agent Jesse Lingard, who recently left Nottingham Forest.
The Daily Mail have also provided an insight on who might head to Al Ettifaq, who finished seventh in the Saudi Pro League last term.
They reveal Gerrard could surprisingly make Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson his first signing in the Middle East. The midfielder has been ‘lined up’ for a potential move as Al Ettifaq will attempt to prise him away from Liverpool with the offer of a big-money contract.
They hope Henderson will decide to make the move ahead of the final few years of his playing career as he is no longer a regular starter at Anfield. Jurgen Klopp has added Alexis Mac Allister and Dominik Szoboszlai to his ranks this summer, and a third midfielder is expected to follow them.
Gerrard plotting Liverpool, Chelsea raids
However, the report adds that it may be tough for Al Ettifaq to convince Henderson to join ahead of next season. This is because his Reds deal runs for another two years, and due to his love for the club he may want to see it out before retiring.
Another player Al Ettifaq are interested in is Chelsea striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. The former Arsenal skipper returned to England last summer by joining Chelsea in a £12m deal from Barcelona.
The move saw him reunite with former Borussia Dortmund boss Thomas Tuchel, but the manager was soon sacked and Aubameyang went on to endure a poor campaign. He only found the back of the net three times in 21 appearances.
The 34-year-old has been linked with a return to Barca, but it is now more likely that he heads to Saudi Arabia. Aubameyang is considering such a move as he wants a ‘fresh start’ away from Stamford Bridge. And Al Ettifaq will now battle some of their domestic rivals for his services.
Aubameyang, who has bagged an impressive 315 goals in his career, could become the fourth Chelsea player to head to the super rich country this summer. N’Golo Kante, Kalidou Koulibaly and Edouard Mendy have already gone there. Hakim Ziyech was hoping to link up with Cristiano Ronaldo at Al Nassr too, but that move is in doubt following a problem with his medical.