Jordan Henderson was ‘one of our best signings’, says Saudi league vice-chairman

By Sports Desk February 28, 2024

Jordan Henderson’s short-lived move to Saudi Arabia benefited the country’s league “a great deal”, its vice-chairman has said.

The 33-year-old England midfielder completed a move to Dutch side Ajax last month after leaving Al Ettifaq less than six months into a lucrative three-year contract.

Henderson hinted at regrets over his move to the Middle East in his introductory press conference in Amsterdam.

He had previously championed LGBTQ+ rights and was widely condemned over the move to Saudi Arabia, where same-sex relationships are criminalised.

However, Saudi Pro League boss Saad Al Lazeez told the Financial Times Business of Football Summit on Wednesday: “Jordan Henderson, even though he left, was one of the best signings in the Saudi Pro League.

“We signed 93 players in the summer window, and I would say 28 to 30 of them would be in anybody’s list of the top 300 players, and you don’t expect all of them to stay.

“Sometimes things do not work out, sometimes the player does not adapt, you expect those things to happen.

“But I still maintain Jordan Henderson was one of our best signings, we benefited a great deal from his signing, we’re learning a lot of lessons and we will continue to grow from there.

“We have been with Jordan throughout his journey from the day we signed him in the UK. We still maintain a good relationship with him. He’s a great guy, a great person. It just did not work out. So that’s life.”

Henderson said on January 19: “In life, if you want to call them regrets or mistakes, you can call them that.

“But, at the same time, they’re only mistakes if you don’t learn from them.

“Looking back, at the time, obviously it was a big decision. It was a decision I felt was right for me and my family at the time, but things happen. Things change quickly in football.

“I had to make another decision and this (joining Ajax) is the one I felt was right decision for me.”

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