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Liverpool Reportedly Not in Contact with Al-Ettifaq Over Henderson Deal

French claims that Liverpool are in “very advanced” negotiations to sell Jordan Henderson to Saudi Arabia do not appear based in reality.

Liverpool FC v Fulham FC - Premier League Photo by James Gill - Danehouse/Getty Images

Liverpool are in the midst of a midfield rebuild as Jürgen Klopp seeks to overhaul an aging core, with James Milner, Naby Keïta, and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain having left while Alexis Mac Allister and Dominik Szoboszlai have arrived.

It’s also led to speculation about potential further departures, but reports of Saudi interest in Thiago Alcantara appear set to lead to nothing, much to the disappointment of those who find more joy in transfer dealings than in actual football.

Now, Jordan Henderson looks set to similarly be the focus of a brief flurry of transfer chatter that amount to nothing, as claims by French reporter Loïc Tanzi that he could be set to join Steven Gerrard at Al-Ettifaq have been quickly shut down.

A French reporter commenting on “very advanced” negotiations by a Saudi club to sign an English player from an English club is the sort of claim that should be met with extreme skepticism, and subsequent reports soon confirmed as much.

Hours after Tanzi’s eyebrow-raising claim, reports started to trickle out from the Liverpool end—starting with The Echo’s Ian Doyle—saying Liverpool haven’t had any contact with Al-Ettifaq and the player hasn’t hinted at wanting to leave.

Given most people wouldn’t expect Klopp to sell his veteran captain, who will be expected to still have a key role in the squad as the transition to a younger midfield core progresses, after already losing Milner’s presence in the squad.

Henderson has also been busy in recent weeks posting updates as he trains for another season and looks as though he may be the fittest he’s ever been—hardly the preparations of a player preparing to go into semi-retirement in Saudi Arabia.

Real life isn’t FIFA or Football Manager. Squads have leaders; experience has value. Some squad consistency and institutional knowledge is useful, and one does not simply replace half the team in one offseason and expect positive results.

By all reliable accounts, the club do not intend to push Thiago out the door despite that he has a year left on his contract. The same will be true—and likely to an even greater extent—for Henderson. A departure would be a genuine shock.

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