Saudi club Al Etiffaq agreed to terminate Jordan Henderson’s contract after only six months; Ajax have offered the midfielder a two-and-a-half-year deal; he will fly to Amsterdam on Thursday to complete a medical but is still waiting a work visa – he’ll be ineligible to play this weekend
Image: Jordan Henderson is set for a medical at Ajax after leaving Al Ettifaq
Jordan Henderson will fly to Amsterdam on Thursday to undergo a medical at Ajax after agreeing terms on a two-and-a-half-year deal.
He is expected to arrive at Amsterdam Schipol airport by private jet on Thursday afternoon.
Henderson will then undertake a medical examination at the Amsterdam University Medical Centre.
Sky Sports News reported on Wednesday that a delegation from the Dutch club were travelling to Manchester to finalise the terms of Henderson’s contract, where meetings continued late into the evening.
The midfielder will not be eligible to play this weekend as Ajax are still securing a work permit to allow him to play in Europe.
A look at Jordan Henderson’s best bits for Liverpool after Al Etiffaq agreed to terminate his contract ahead of a return to England
The Dutch club, fifth in the Eredivisie, face RKC Waalwijk on Sunday and are 23 points shy of league leaders PSV.
They believe Henderson will help them push for European qualification during the remainder of the campaign.
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Earlier this week, it was revealed that Al Ettifaq had agreed to terminate the midfielder’s contract to facilitate a move away from Saudi Arabia.
On Back Pages Tonight, The Times’ chief sports reporter Martyn Ziegler discusses Jordan Henderson’s pay during his time in Saudi Arabia.
Henderson played 19 times for Al Ettifaq, who former Liverpool team-mate Steven Gerrard coaches.
Saudi Pro League clubs made close to 100 signings in a £750m spending spree last summer – Henderson is the first major name to leave.
The Saudi view: No hard feelings – it’s part of football and life
Sky Sports’ Kaveh Solhekol explains how Al Ettifaq will be affected by Jordan Henderson’s proposed exit from the club.
Sky Sports News’ chief reporter Kaveh Solhekol:
“The Saudi Pro League, Saudi Arabia Football Federation and Al Ettifaq are happy there has been a quick conclusion so everyone can move forward.
“They know Henderson was a good professional for the club but accept he didn’t settle and respect his desire to leave.
“Once it became clear he wanted to leave, Al Ettifaq did not stand in his way. In fact they fast-tracked his departure so they could do business in this window.
“His contract will be terminated on financial conditions that mean the club will not really lose out.
“Everyone tried to make it work. It didn’t. No one is to blame, no one is upset and there are no hard feelings. It’s just part of football and life.”
Is this an embarrassing climbdown for Henderson?
Dharmesh Sheth discusses whether Jordan Henderson will return to the Premier League during the January transfer window in order to secure a place in Gareth Southgate’s England squad for the European Championships this summer.
“It depends how you look at it. A lot of people will be saying he’s coming back with his tail between his legs, he should never have gone there in the first place. He was accused of being a hypocrite.
“He was accused of only going there for the money. He was accused of letting down the LGBTQ+ community. We’ve got to be a bit careful before we start to criticise people because we don’t know the full story.
“The bottom line is that last summer, Jordan Henderson thought the best decision for him and his family was for him to move to Saudi Arabia.
“Fast forward six months later, he thinks the best decision for him is to leave Saudi Arabia and come back to Europe. Obviously, it’s been a hugely controversial move. We all know it hasn’t worked out.
“But as far as he is concerned, he will be happy that his Saudi Arabian adventure is over and he’s back playing at a higher level in European football.
“One of the really important things for him is to keep his place in the England squad for the Euros this summer.”
Is this the first sign of cracks in the Saudi project?
Dutch football expert Marcel van der Kraan says Ajax are prepared to go above and beyond to secure Jordan Henderson’s signature.
“It’s a very good question and it’s certainly something people will be talking about. But I do feel this is an isolated case.
“The Saudi Pro League is already the No 1 league in Asia. The people running the league want to make it one of the best in the world. If you look at the attendances, a lot has been made of the fact that the average attendance that Henderson was playing in front of at Al Ettifaq was around 7,000.
“In one game he played in, there was only around 600-700 people there. But attendances are growing in the Saudi Pro League and are up 24 per cent on last season.
“The average attendance is about 8,000 and some games you even get 50,000 people at the games as well. So, it is a mixed picture. As with anywhere, you can get some players who are unhappy and want to leave when moves don’t work out, but on the whole the people behind the Saudi Pro League are still pretty pleased with how everything has gone.
“One thing that is sometimes overlooked as I was in Saudi Arabia last month, is that some of the players you speak to – especially the Muslim players – will tell you that they love living in Saudi Arabia.
“They say it’s very important for them to be living and working in Saudi Arabia, which is the birthplace of Islam. It’s a mixed picture. Some players are happy, some aren’t – and that’s the same picture across the world.”
Follow the January transfer window
The winter transfer window is now open and will close at 11pm in England and midnight in Scotland on Thursday 1 February, 2024.
To ensure harmonisation with the major leagues in Europe, the closing dates were set following discussions with the EFL, DFL, Serie A, LaLiga, and LFP, who will all close their summer and winter windows on 1 September and 1 February respectively
Keep up to date with all the latest transfer news and rumours in our dedicated Transfer Centre blog on Sky Sports’ digital platforms, while you can also catch up with the ins, outs and analysis on Sky Sports News, including daily transfer shows, and listen to our Transfer Talk podcast.