Ben Jacobs has revealed why Jordan Henderson turned down an initial offer from Al-Ettifaq, and also why he changed his stance on the prospect of moving to Saudi Arabia.
The 33-year-old had initially opted against the move but, when Steven Gerrard’s side came back with a more lucrative offer, he had a change of heart motivated by factors other than financial gain.
In his exclusive Daily Briefing column for CaughtOffside, Jacobs wrote: “Henderson actually rejected Al-Ettifaq’s first offer and told some within Liverpool’s senior hierarchy he was focused on the new season and felt staying would best aid his Euro 2024 chances.
“But Al-Ettifaq came back with an improved offer and Henderson now feels the game time they can offer is more beneficial than staying at Anfield.”
Some cynics may insist that the midfielder’s primary motivation for moving to Saudi Arabia is the £700,000 he’d be earning each week (The Athletic), but any concerns from him over receding game-time at Anfield would be legitimate.
Henderson started six fewer Premier League games and played 529 fewer minutes last season than in 2021/22 (WhoScored), and the additions of Alexis Mac Allister and Dominik Szoboszlai this summer add stronger competition for a starting berth.
Perhaps he feels that failing to start regularly for Liverpool in the upcoming campaign may harm his England prospects for Euro 2024 just the same as moving to Al-Ettifaq would, and has decided to do what he believes is best for his club career.
Until such time that the Reds captain himself speaks out as to the proposed transfer, we can only speculate as to what his eventual decision will be and why he’ll make it.
There’ll be plenty of eyes on Henderson as Jurgen Klopp’s side partake in their first pre-season friendly against Karlsruher on Wednesday, and how big of a part he plays on that game.
It could offer a clearer indication as to how much he might feature during the campaign for Liverpool, and indeed if he’ll still be at Anfield once the competitive action begins next month.