Jordan Henderson was a notable absentee as Liverpool beat Karlsruher 4-2 in a pre-season friendly on Wednesday as the England midfielder closes in on a move to Saudi Arabian team Al-Ettifaq.
Liverpool has reportedly agreed in principle a deal worth 12 million pounds ($15.5 million) for its Premier League and Champions League-winning captain.
The move would see Henderson link up with Liverpool great Steven Gerrard, who has just been hired as manager of the Saudi Pro League team.
The potential signing of the 33-year-old Henderson is further evidence of the growing lure of Saudi football as the oil-rich kingdom targets leading players from Europe’s top leagues.
Karim Benzema and N’Golo Kante are among the star names to have headed there during the offseason, with Riyad Mahrez also expected to move to Al-Ahli after Manchester City reportedly agreed deal worth up to 30 million pounds ($38.7 million) for its winger.
Henderson’s former Liverpool teammate Roberto Firmino has joined Al-Ahli, while another Anfield player Fabinho has also been linked with a move to Saudi Arabia.
Henderson won every major club honor during his time at the Merseyside club, including the Champions League in 2019 and the Premier League title a year later.
That title success ended Liverpool’s 30-year wait to be crowned champions of England again.
He still has two years to run on his current contract, but could have seen his first team opportunities impacted by manager Jurgen Klopp’s midfield overhaul this offseason.
Liverpool has signed Alexis Mac Allister and Dominik Szoboszlai during the transfer window and is expected to add another midfielder ahead of the new season.
Klopp’s midfield revamp comes after the club endured a disappointing campaign last season, which saw it miss out on the Champions League for the first time in seven years and fail to win a trophy.
James Milner, Naby Keita and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain have all left, while Fabio Carvalho has joined Leipzig on a season-long loan.
Thiago Alcantara’s future is also uncertain, with the veteran Spain international also linked with a move away — potentially to Saudi Arabia.
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