Ajax sign England midfielder Jordan Henderson from Saudi club Al-Ettifaq

Ajax sign England midfielder Jordan Henderson from Saudi club Al-Ettifaq

England midfielder Jordan Henderson has joined Dutch club Ajax on a two-and-half-year deal after less than six months at Al-Ettifaq.

The 33-year-old signed a three-year contract worth a reported £700,000 a week with the Saudi Pro League club after leaving Liverpool in July.

Al-Ettifaq agreed to terminate his contract to facilitate the move.

“I’m sad to say that I will be leaving Al Ettifaq with immediate effect,” Henderson wrote on social media.

“It wasn’t an easy decision but one that I feel is best for me and my family.

“I want to take this opportunity to thank the club and the fans for all the support during my time. I really felt the love from day one.

“I’ll keep watching and hoping for your success. Good luck for the future.”

Shortly after Henderson’s departure was confirmed, it was announced that ex-Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard had extended his deal as Al-Ettifaq manager until 2027.

As a prominent supporter of the LGBTQ+ community during his time at Anfield, Henderson was criticised for making the move to Saudi Arabia, where same-sex sexual activity is illegal.

He said he was “really hurt” by the backlash, adding his intention has always been to “help causes and communities”.

However, recent reports suggested Henderson had failed to settle in Saudi Arabia; he leaves Al-Ettifaq having made just 17 league appearances.

BBC Sport was told the split between the Saudi Pro League and Henderson was amicable, and the financial implications of his departure are said to be “positive” for the Saudis.

Al-Ettifaq president Samer Al Misehal said: “Firstly, the club would like to thank Jordan for his efforts and wish him the best for his future endeavours.

“We are always respectful of our players. The club and Jordan believe this quick decision, without any delay or further distraction, has been made for both the overall good of the club and for Jordan.”

Saad Allazeez, the vice-chairman and interim chief executive of the Saudi Pro League, added: “This is all just part of football, all across the world and life, across all careers.

“Sometimes, despite best efforts, people don’t always adjust or settle and that can impact performances and lead to frustrations for all.

“Jordan is a good guy and it’s a shame that things didn’t work out for him, but he’d be the first to admit that full support was given to him and respect shown. So everyone tried and no one is to blame.”

He continued: “I’m pleased the club acted fast as they have to protect their own interests as well as the player and this instance, this is all for the best.

“Since their financial conditions for cancelling the contract were agreed, they can now make full use of the winter break and transfer window to reset and go again.

“And as a league, we have the strength and depth to move forward.”

Source: BBC

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