Ajax have confirmed the signing of former Liverpool midfielder Jordan Henderson, after he mutually agreed to leave Saudi Arabian club Al Ettifaq.
Henderson was among a host of players to swap Europe for the Middle East over the summer, as he joined Steven Gerrard’s Ettifaq from Liverpool in a £13million deal. However, after only 19 appearances for his new club, it emerged that Henderson had started to push for an exit.
He is part of a group of players who have been struggling with the lifestyle in Saudi Arabia, while also being left disappointed with the lack of fans in grounds.
And Ettifaq have now confirmed the termination of his contract. The move comes after ‘amicable’ talks between the two parties, the club said.
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.”
In a 42-word parting message to the Saudi Pro League team, Henderson added: “I’d like to thank the club, the fans and all involved for the opportunity and wish them the best for the remainder of the season. A lot of hard work is going in which I know will pay off in the future.”
Ajax were immediately named as potential suitors for the 33-year-old when it was revealed that he wanted to leave Ettifaq, and the Dutch giants have now confirmed his arrival.
Henderson has penned a two-and-a-half-year contract which is designed to keep him at Ajax until June 2026. He will wear the number six shirt in Amsterdam.
Jordan Henderson to ‘step in immediately’ for Ajax
Reacting to the signing, Ajax boss John van ‘t Schip said: “We wanted an experienced midfielder with leadership qualities. Partially due to injuries in the team, we were looking for someone who could step in immediately. Jordan Henderson is that type of player.
“His arrival means a huge enhancement for our squad. Both on and off the pitch, a football player of this calibre is important for our many young players. He’s an English international player and has won the Champions League and many other prizes with Liverpool. I am happy he’s here, and I think it’s very good for our club that he’s an Ajacied from today onwards.”
Recent reports have suggested Henderson will become Ajax’s best-paid player, with a base salary of £85,000 a week. That will rise to £110k per week depending on bonuses.
On Wednesday, another former Liverpool midfielder, Danny Murphy, explained why there is great risk to Henderson’s Ajax switch, while also criticising him for heading to Ettifaq.