LGBTQ Supporter Henderson Regrets Move to Saudi Football League

Despite heading to the lucrative Saudi Pro League, Henderson has requested a move back to the English Premier League just six months after departing. Henderson’s move was met with scrutiny as he, a supporter of LGBTQ+ rights, relocated to a nation where such rights are restricted.

A Big Money-Move Met With Controversy

Jordan Henderson’s recent decision to entertain the possibility of a return to the Premier League has sent shockwaves through the football community.

The former Liverpool captain’s initial move to Al-Ettifaq in the Saudi Pro League was met with criticism, and now, less than six months into his Middle Eastern adventure, reports suggest he is seeking an exit after initially claiming he wanted to change the culture of the Arab country both on and off the pitch.

Henderson’s departure from Anfield, a club where he held the captain’s armband, to join Al-Ettifaq was a move that garnered attention and criticism. However, his experience in the Saudi Pro League has been far from idyllic.

The team is currently enduring a challenging nine-match winless streak, and Henderson has found himself playing in front of notably small crowds.

Reports indicate that the harsh weather conditions, including the heat and humidity, have posed challenges for the England international. This, coupled with the team’s lackluster performance, has fueled his desire to seek an exit from his Middle Eastern venture.

Backdrop of Controversy

Henderson’s move to Al-Ettifaq was not only met with on-field challenges but also a significant backdrop of controversy. His relocation to a country where homosexuality is criminalized sparked a substantial backlash, turning him into a focal point of criticism.

The controversy surrounding the decision also combined with his continued selection in the England national team despite playing in a lower-standard league, has made life difficult for him in recent months. Henderson’s attempts to clarify his reasons for the move have only fueled the ongoing debate surrounding his decision-making.

Beyond the player’s individual considerations, Henderson’s potential return to the Premier League carries financial implications for Liverpool. Reports suggest that the initial deal between Liverpool and Al-Ettifaq includes a transfer clause, meaning that if Henderson secures a move back to Europe, Liverpool could stand to pocket a substantial seven-figure windfall.

Henderson’s Contract and Potential Pay Cut

Henderson’s decision to leave Liverpool was accompanied by a lucrative contract with Al-Ettifaq that runs until the summer of 2026. However, the recent desire to seek an exit could result in financial challenges for the midfielder.

Earning a staggering £700,000 a week tax-free, Henderson faces the prospect of a significant financial hit if he departs before completing the first two years of his contract. 

Henderson’s move to Al-Ettifaq coincided with the appointment of Steven Gerrard as the club’s head coach. However, Gerrard’s long-term future at the club is now uncertain as mounting pressure accompanies Al-Ettifaq’s poor form.

The recent departure of Gerrard’s assistant, Ian Foster, who played a pivotal role in persuading Henderson to join Al-Ettifaq, further clouds the situation. Foster accepted an offer from Plymouth Argyle, making his way back to the English Football League on considerably less pay.

Tax-Free Dilemma and Potential Loan Move

Henderson’s desire to leave Al-Ettifaq, particularly in the January transfer window, potentially on loan, introduces further financial considerations. Any move may involve a substantial pay cut from the reported £350,000-a-week tax-free earnings he currently enjoys.

The presence of a clause voiding the tax-free element if he leaves before completing two years in Saudi Arabia poses a financial challenge. 

As the pressure mounts on Steven Gerrard, coupled with Al-Ettifaq’s failure to secure a win in eight Pro League matches, questions about the club’s and Gerrard’s capabilities come to the forefront.

Henderson’s potential departure, should it materialize, could have broader implications on team morale, the coaching staff’s effectiveness, and Gerrard’s standing as the head coach.

The post LGBTQ Supporter Henderson Regrets Move to Saudi Football League first appeared on Pulse365 Limited.

Featured Image Credit: Shutterstock / Bukharev Oleg.

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