The Athletic reported on Wednesday that a deal had been reached between Liverpool and Saudi club Al Ettifaq. As part of the agreement, Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson is expected to join former colleague Steven Gerrard at Al Ettifaq.
After leading the Reds to victory in the Champions League the previous year, in 2020, Henderson, then 33 years old, guided the club to its first Premier League championship in 30 years.
However, the England midfielder has been considering joining Gerrard after reports surfaced that he was offered a contract worth up to £700,000 ($915,000) a week to play for Gerrard.
The transfer price that would be paid to Liverpool is expected to be $15.5 million (or £12 million).
In the beginning of this month, Gerrard was given the role of manager at Al Ettifaq.
In 2011, Henderson moved to Liverpool from Sunderland, and in 2015, he took over as captain at Anfield, having previously been held by Gerrard.
On Wednesday, he was not included in the group that Jurgen Klopp selected to play an exhibition match against Karlsruhe.
Fabinho, a Brazilian defender who now plays for Liverpool, is close to agreeing to terms on a transfer to Al-Ittihad in exchange for a fee of forty million pounds. As a result of the infusion of investment by Saudi teams, Liverpool is also likely to lose Fabinho.
Since the conclusion of the last campaign, Klopp has also seen three of his midfielders, Naby Keita, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, and James Milner, leave the club on free transfers.
However, Liverpool has improved their play in that region of the field by acquiring Alexis Mac Allister and Dominik Szoboszlai in recent weeks.
LGBT+ supporters of Liverpool FC who call themselves Kop Outs have voiced their disapproval of Henderson’s choice to go to a Gulf state.
It has been said that the Saudi government is seeking to “sportswash” its human rights record by staging big athletic events and, more recently, drawing some of the finest footballers in the world to compete in their local league.
The conservative kingdom slaughtered 81 people in a single day last year, and it forbids homosexuality. In 2018, the murder of writer Jamal Khashoggi at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul prompted worldwide criticism.
“Kop Outs have valued the allyship shown by @JHenderson,” the organization stated in a statement that was published on Twitter.
“We are appalled and concerned that anyone might consider working for a #sportswashing operation for a regime where women and LGBT+ people are oppressed,” said the group. “We are appalled and concerned that anyone might consider working for a #sportswashing operation.”