Jordan Henderson is NOT expected to join Steven Gerrard at Al-Ettifaq despite being a top target of his former team-mate, with the Liverpool captain reluctant to move to Saudi Arabia
- Steven Gerrard has been appointed as boss of Saudi Pro League side Al-Ettifaq
- He identified Jordan Henderson and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang as top targets
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Steven Gerrard faces disappointment in his bid to sign former Liverpool teammate Jordan Henderson for Al-Ettifaq.
Mail Sport revealed that Henderson and Chelsea striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang are two of Gerrard’s top targets after he was appointed as manager of the Saudi Arabian club last week, while the Liverpool legend has also spoken to free agent Wilfried Zaha.
Despite exploratory talks between intermediaries acting on behalf of Al-Ettifaq and Henderson, it’s understood that the 33-year-old England midfielder would be reluctant to join the Saudi Pro League at this stage of his career.
Al-Ettifaq would also have to persuade Liverpool to let Henderson leave having already released James Milner, Roberto Firmino, Naby Keita, and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain this summer.
The Dammam-based club have made an offer to Aubameyang but there have been no talks yet with the 34-year-old striker who could become the latest Chelsea star to head to the Saudi league, following in the footsteps of N’Golo Kante, Kalidou Koulibaly and Edouard Mendy.
Steven Gerrard faces disappointment in his bid to sign Jordan Henderson for Al-Ettifaq
Gerrard had identified his former Liverpool teammate as one of his top targets after taking over the Saudi Pro League side, but Henderson is reluctant to move at this stage of his career
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In his first interview since taking the job at Al-Ettifaq, Gerrard explained his reasons for moving to the Middle East and his hopes that he can help to make it become of the ‘best leagues in the world’.
‘There were a lot of reasons for me wanting to join the club. It has a lot of good people representing the club from the board down,’ said the 43-year-old.
‘When I went over to Saudi, I got a real family feel. They made me feel extremely welcome. There are three things that I always consider: it needs to be right for my family first and foremost, we have to be excited and motivated by the challenge.
‘The football project needs to be ambitious and for the right reasons in terms of the challenge and the remit. Of course, you need to feel secure that the contract is right. That always comes at the very end.
Gerrard’s appointment was confirmed last week and he has big ambitions for his new side
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (left) and Wilfried Zaha (right) are other early targets for Gerrard
‘It was a combination of reasons. I’m extremely excited and happy. I can’t wait to start. I can’t wait to meet the supporters and the players. But the people I have met so far who represent Al-Ettifaq have been absolutely outstanding. We share a lot of things in common.
‘I’m a coach and manager who is very ambitious. I like to work tirelessly to make sure the team is competitive. If we’re all united and together, and we all stay aligned, I’m sure we can achieve our goals together.
‘I think the league will continue to grow and evolve. With fantastic support from the government and ministers, and all the clubs throughout the Saudi Pro League and all the supporters and players, we all have an ambition to make it one of the best leagues in the world.’
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