Jordan Henderson set to leave Al Ettifaq after six months in Saudi Pro League

Former Liverpool captain has his contract terminated, with reports claiming a move to Ajax is imminent

Jordan Henderson has left Al Ettifaq after just six months and has joined Ajax on a permanent transfer. Getty Images
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England midfielder Jordan Henderson looks set to leave Al Ettifaq after just six months, coming to an agreement with the Saudi Pro League club to terminate his three-year contract.

Henderson, 33, moved to Ettifaq, managed by former Liverpool teammate Steven Gerrard, last summer in a deal worth a reported £12 million, although his first half-season has not gone to plan.

After a bright start, Ettifaq have not won in eight league matches, dating back to the end of October, and are stuck in mid-table, with Henderson reportedly concerned about missing out on England's Euro 2024 squad if he spent the rest of the season in a struggling SPL team.

There are also reports of Henderson and his family, who live in neighbouring Bahrain, struggling to settle in the region following their first move abroad.

It was initially reported that Ettifaq were reluctant to lose the former Liverpool captain this month but an agreement was ultimately reached and his contract was terminated.

Henderson was in Abu Dhabi with Ettifaq this week for a winter training camp but flew back to the UK to finalise his exit from the club and resolve his future; various reports claim the midfielder appears bound for Dutch giants Ajax.

Should Henderson, who made 19 appearances for Ettifaq and provided five assists, move to Ajax, he will be tasked with helping the Amsterdam club continue their revival after a miserable past 18 months.

After finishing third in the Dutch league last season – their lowest place since 2009 – Ajax endured a shocking start to the current campaign, with former manager Maurice Steijn lasting only 11 games; he was sacked in October with Ajax second bottom in the league.

Form has improved dramatically in the months since under interim manager John van ‘t Schip, who has led Ajax up to fifth in the standings, nine points behind third-placed FC Twente in the last of the Champions League places. However, any hopes of a 37th Dutch league title are remote; runaway leaders PSV Eindhoven sit on 51 points, 23 clear of Ajax, having won all 17 games so far.

Henderson came through the Sunderland youth academy and played three seasons for his boyhood club – with a half-season on loan at Coventry City – before earning a move to Liverpool in 2011.

During his 12 years at Anfield, Henderson collected six major trophies. He became the first Liverpool captain to win the Premier League while ending a 30-year wait for a league title, captained the Reds to Champions League glory in 2019, and won two League Cups, an FA Cup, and the 2019 Fifa Club World Cup.

Henderson has made 81 appearances for England since making his debut in 2010 and was part of the squad that reached the Euro 2020 final.

Updated: January 17, 2024, 1:07 PM