Liverpool icon Steven Gerrard is reportedly plotting to raid his former employers to sign midfielder Thiago and centre-back Joel Matip in the summer. Gerrard is currently in charge of Al-Etiffaq and wants to take the duo to Saudi Arabia as Jordan Henderson prepares to return to Europe.
Henderson moved to the Middle East in the summer following a 12-year spell with Liverpool and has featured 17 times for Al-Etiffaq. But the blockbuster star, who was heavily criticised for the transfer, has failed to hit the heights he displayed during his time in the Premier League and is set to join Ajax in the coming days.
According to transfer expert Ben Jacobs, Al-Etiffaq have freed up £8million to spend in the market after terminating Henderson’s contract and are considering loan moves for former Reds player Roberto Firmino and ex-Celtic star Jota, who are both currently plying their trade in Saudi Arabia. But the club will also look at Thiago and Matip in the summer.
Thiago is yet to feature this season after undergoing surgery on a hip injury at the end of the last campaign, with Liverpool assistant manager Pepijn Lijnders recently saying the Spain international would “not be ready for the end of this month.” The 32-year-old, who joined the Reds from Bayern Munich in 2020, has featured 97 times for Jurgen Klopp’s team but is out of contract at the end of the season.
Matip, meanwhile, started nine Premier League matches during the first half of the campaign but suffered an anterior cruciate ligament injury during his side’s clash with Fulham at the start of December. He then underwent a successful operation and is currently recovering from the setback.
Matip has been at Liverpool since the summer of 2016 after joining the club on a free transfer from Schalke. He has racked up 201 appearances for the Merseyside giants and is also out of contract in the summer.
Gerrard took on the top job at Al-Etiffaq last summer but has underwhelmed in the Middle East, with his team winning just six of their first 19 Saudi Pro League matches of the campaign. The former midfielder was sacked by Aston Villa in October 2022 but previously led Rangers to the Scottish Premiership title.
Gerrard spent almost his entire playing career at Liverpool and helped them win the Champions League in 2005. The former England star hung up his boots in 2017 following an 18-month spell with Los Angeles.