Jordan Henderson: Ajax close to signing England midfielder from Saudi club Al-Ettifaq

Jordan Henderson playing for Al-Ettifaq
Jordan Henderson began his career at hometown club Sunderland before joining Liverpool in 2011

England midfielder Jordan Henderson is close to joining Ajax in a permanent move, with his contract at Saudi club Al-Ettifaq set to be terminated.

Preparations are being made for his arrival in Amsterdam but no deal has yet been concluded.

The midfielder, 33, signed a three-year contract worth a reported £700,000 a weekexternal-link with Al-Ettifaq when he left Liverpool in a £12m deal in July.

However, reports have suggested he is unhappyexternal-link and wants to return to Europe.

Henderson linked up with ex-Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard, who is Al-Ettifaq manager, but appears to be heading back to Europe, having made just 17 appearances in the Saudi Pro League.

The former Sunderland trainee, who was a prominent supporter of the LGBTQ+ community during his time at Anfield, was criticised by many for moving to Saudi Arabia, where same-sex sexual activity is illegal.

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

Some England fans booed Henderson in his first game back in the country during the Three Lions’ friendly win over Australia at Wembley in October.

Saudi Arabian Pro League clubs made 94 signings in a remarkable £750m spending spree last summer. Henderson is set to be the first major name to leave, although BBC Sport has been told French star Karim Benzema also has doubts about staying at Al-Ittihad having joined the Jeddah club on a three-year deal in June.

Saudi Pro League bosses are understood not to be concerned by Henderson’s impending exit from Al-Ettifaq.

The financial implications of his departure are said to be “positive” for the Saudis, who respect that he was not settled.

BBC Sport has been told the league worked quickly to resolve the situation amicably, with no-one being blamed for the way things have worked out.

Ajax have endured a difficult campaign so far and find themselves in fifth place, 23 points behind leaders PSV Eindhoven.

Should the deal be concluded swiftly, Henderson could make his debut for the Dutch giants against RKC Waalwijk in the Eredivisie on Sunday.

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