Jordan Henderson transfer: Why Liverpool legend isn’t moving back to Premier League as Ajax deal nears

Robin Bairner
Jordan Henderson, Premier League, Saudi Arabia
© ProShots

Jordan Henderson looks set to complete a January transfer to Ajax, having brokered an agreement to leave Saudi Pro League side Al-Ettifaq.

Former Liverpool star Henderson completed a controversial €14 million transfer to Saudi in the summer, with the 33-year-old facing accusations of being a hypocrite after previously campaigning for LGBT+ rights.

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His spell with the Saudi Pro League club has lasted only six months, though, with David Ornstein reporting that the ex-Sunderland star has reached an agreement with Al-Ettifaq to leave.

“The England international and his current side are in the process of finalising the termination of a three-year contract that he signed last summer,” Ornstein has written in The Athletic, confirming that the player intends to move to Ajax.

Juventus also held an interest in Henderson, but a return to the Premier League was never on the cards.

Premier League return costly for Henderson

Financially, it makes little sense for Henderson to return to Britain at this point.

The Telegraph has reported that the former Liverpool man will be hit with a tax bill of approximately €3.5m (£3m) if he returns to the UK before the end of the tax year in April.

“Under current tax laws, those leaving the United Kingdom to work abroad must remain out of the country for a full tax year or pay 45 per cent on their earnings if they return before,” it states.

Jordan Henderson is close to moving to Ajax
© ProShots/FootballTransfers – Jordan Henderson is close to moving to Ajax

Henderson is earning big money at Al-Ettifaq – reportedly more than €400,000 (£350,000) per week – which means that in the six months he has spent with the club, he has earned in the region of €10.6m (£9.1m).

One of the attractions of the Saudi Pro League was big money and low taxes. Losing around a third of that by moving back to England looks a significant price to pay given that Henderson’s decision to go there in the first place was likely financial.

The player, meanwhile, told The Athletic at the time it was about building the league.

“I wanted something that would excite me. But it needed to be something that I felt as though I could add value in and do and try something new — a new challenge and for different reasons,” he said.

“And this opportunity with Stevie Gerrard in a totally different league and totally different culture was something completely different, that maybe it would excite us in terms of the project that was put in front of us, in terms of the league and using my experience to try to help with that in many different areas and feeling that people value.”

Henderson is set to take a sizeable pay cut when he leaves Al-Ettifaq, with Ajax unable to offer him anything like the kind of money he is used to.

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