Jordan Henderson set for crunch Al Ettifaq talks over January exit

  • Henderson is expected to inform Al Ettifaq whether he wants to leave early next week
  • Ajax among potential suitors for the former Liverpool captain
  • Al Ettifaq won’t be pressured into a sale and their financial demands could complicate any deal

Henderson's future remains unclear
Henderson's future remains unclear / Francois Nel/GettyImages

Jordan Henderson will hold a meeting with Al Ettifaq officials next week in which he could confirm his desire to leave the club, 90min understands.

The midfielder joined Al Ettifaq from Liverpool during the summer but has not settled in Saudi Arabia and is believed to have grown concerned about his place with England at this summer's European Championships, despite receiving previous reassurances from Gareth Southgate.

While Henderson has not yet informed Ettifaq of his feelings directly, the 33-year-old is expected to voice some concerns in an upcoming meeting with the Saudi side at their training camp in Abu Dhabi next week. This will be led by manager Steven Gerrard and sporting director Mark Allen with Henderson presented with the opportunity to tell the club his position face to face.

No formal offers have been received for Henderson at this point but sources have confirmed to 90min that there is formative interest in his services from the Premier League, Bundesliga and from Eredivisie side Ajax.

However, any potential suitors face a battle to convince Ettifaq to part ways with Henderson. The Saudi club will not be pressured into selling. Henderson was the team's statement signing in a summer which also saw Georginio Wijnaldum, Moussa Dembele, Demarai Gray and Jack Hendry all arrive in Dammam. Yet Gerrard’s side are winless since October.

Jordan Henderson
The England midfielder has options in Europe / Alex Pantling/GettyImages

The Saudi side have no desire to offload Henderson in January and would likely need to be offered the chance to make a profit on the midfielder before they even entertain a permanent departure.

Ettifaq are not one of the clubs backed by the Saudi Public Investment Fund and, despite still being owned by the Ministry of Sport, do not have the vast wealth of some of their rivals.

On top of his transfer fee, which Saudi sources say was £4m and not the widely reported £12m, Ettifaq have invested in Henderson's wages and relocation costs, and a sell-on clause secured by Liverpool (deducting further funds from any permanent sale) means they would need to receive close to £20m to turn a healthy profit with all outlays considered.

A loan, the more likely scenario if Henderson exits, would also require a significant spend from a suitor. Ettifaq will demand Henderson's wages be paid in full, even if the midfielder lowers his salary, while a loan fee would also be necessary.

Ettifaq have endeavoured to build their current squad around Henderson and will only let the England international leave if it ultimately benefits them financially and allows them to sign an immediate replacement this month.