Steven Gerrard’s new club Al Ettifaq are battling two major European clubs and one Premier League side for the capture of a top winger, according to a report.
Gerrard was named as Al Ettifaq’s new boss on July 3. He becomes the latest big name to head to the Saudi Pro League, following the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo, Karim Benzema, N’Golo Kante and Ruben Neves. The Liverpool icon has agreed a two-year contract with Al Ettifaq and their president soon predicted him to provide a ‘quantum leap’ to the country’s top division.
It came as little surprise when Al Ettifaq were linked with some of Gerrard’s former Aston Villa players. Indeed, Brazilian playmaker Philippe Coutinho was soon named as a potential target.
More surprising, though, was the fact Gerrard was tipped to go after Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson, who still has two years left to run on his contract with the Reds.
According to a report from the Daily Mail, Ivory Coast attacker Wilfried Zaha is the latest Prem star Gerrard is hoping to take to the Middle East.
And Gerrard has helped Al Ettifaq make some progress over the potential move, too. It is claimed he held a video call with Zaha earlier this week, with those discussions going positively.
Gerrard has decided on Zaha as a ‘priority’ target as he looks to make Al Ettifaq genuine title challengers in Saudi Arabia. Last term, they finished seventh in the table, way behind eventual champions Al Ittihad.
Al Ettifaq have offered the free agent a huge contract worth around £600,000 a week. However, it is unclear whether the deal will go through as club chiefs are growing frustrated with the star and his agent.
Al Ettifaq move under threat despite Gerrard push
The report claims Zaha’s camp have asked for more money, a demand Al Ettifaq do not want to meet. They feel they could get two or potentially three top-class players with the money they are offering Zaha.
As such, Zaha’s transfer to Saudi Arabia is on the verge of collapsing, despite Gerrard’s best efforts. It now seems as though the Crystal Palace hero will be staying in Europe.
Palace sent him a club-record contract offer worth £200,000 a week earlier this year. That expired on July 1, but the Eagles are still willing to pay him that much to keep him at Selhurst Park.
But Zaha is also aware of interest from two huge European sides, in the form of Paris Saint-Germain and Napoli. According to The Guardian, both PSG and Napoli are ready to offer him the chance to feature in the Champions League for the very first time.
Those clubs cannot pay him as much as Al Ettifaq would, but PSG in particular would have the money to rival Palace’s £200k-a-week contract offer.
With Al Ettifaq seemingly falling behind in the race for Zaha, it seems the winger is now faced with the prospect of either playing in the Champions League or seeing out his career with a club very close to his heart.