Premier League • England

Jordan Henderson strikes agreement with Euro giant after Liverpool great terminates lucrative Saudi contract

Jordan Henderson

Ex-Liverpool captain, Jordan Henderson, will see his lucrative contract at Al Ettifaq terminated and has reached an agreement in principle over a return to an ailing European giant.

Henderson left Liverpool for Saudi Arabia last summer in a deal worth roughly £12m. The 33-year-old was no longer a regular starter at Anfield and the Reds fully intended to oversee a sweeping midfield rebuild.

Upon talking with manager Jurgen Klopp and realising his place was no longer secure, Henderson elected to join Steven Gerrard’s Al Ettifaq in a lucrative late-career switch.

Henderson reportedly netted close to £700,000-a-week via the agreement. However, after just six months in the middle east, the bloom fell off the rose.

The Daily Mail led the way, revealing Henderson had not taken to life in Saudi Arabia. The searing heat was an issue, as was adapting to the different lifestyle and the poor attendances and atmosphere at Al Ettifaq matches.

Al Ettifaq are not one of the four Saudi Pro League clubs controlled by the Public Investment Fund. As such, Gerrard’s side were left to sign lesser-heralded stars such as Jack Hendry, Georginio Wijnaldum and Demarai Gray.

Talk of a return to Liverpool was quickly quashed by Klopp. Reports in Italy claimed a move to Juventus was a possibility, though Juve have since announced they’ll not be making any further signings this month.

Instead, Fabrizio Romano broke the news of Dutch giant Ajax being in the frame back on January 9. According to updates from both he and the Athletic’s David Ornstein, Henderson is on course for the Netherlands.

Henderson to join Ajax on free transfer

Firstly, Romano reported overnight that Ajax had grown increasingly confident of securing a deal for Henderson.

Talks to do just that took place on Tuesday and Romano declared the deal to be “absolutely on.”

Ornstein provided further good news for Ajax and Henderson on Wednesday morning when revealing the midfielder and Al Ettifaq have agreed to terminate the remainder of his three-year contract.

His deal is now in the process of being ripped up and Henderson has struck an ‘agreement in principle’ to join Ajax on a free transfer.

Henderson’s move will thus be a permanent one and not a loan. There are still final details left to be ironed out and a medical undertaken, though Ornstein reaffirmed the broad framework of Henderson’s move to Ajax is in place.

Ajax endured a nightmare start to the season and sacked manager Maurice Steijn on October 23.

However, results have dramatically improved since John van ‘t Schip took charge and Ajax are unbeaten in their last eight Eredivisie outings.

Barring any late hiccups, Henderson will now bring leadership and experience to an Ajax side that boasts plenty of promise, though is on the younger side.

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