Jordan Henderson‘s future has been thrust into the spotlight this week after accepting a deal to join Steven Gerrard in Saudi Arabia, but it seems Al Ettifaq cannot afford a transfer fee.
Bet you’re wondering how that can be the case when reports of a weekly wage of £700,000 have been mooted by Merseyside journalists.
Currently, no formal bid has been tabled for the Liverpool skipper – nor for Fabinho – but the club see £20 million as the minimum if they were to green light a move.
Sources close to Saudi club have suggested to This Is Anfield that they would prefer to strike a cut-price deal, and, unbelievably, a free transfer has even been suggested.
The mindset would track a claim, from @EttifaqKSA on Twitter, which suggests Al Ettifaq has a transfer budget of 65 million Saudi Riyal, which converts to £13.2 million, this summer.
The Mail‘s Dominic King furthered this by stating the Saudi club “are struggling to meet Liverpool’s demands,” even if they have tabled a deal worth up to £35 million in wages per year.
Al Ettifaq is not one of the Saudi clubs owned by the Public Investment Fund but there needs to be some deeper critical thinking when it comes to being able to offer millions in wages but not a transfer fee of £20 million, possibly paid over three years.
All non-PIF clubs are still government-owned and from the understanding of the New York Times‘ Rory Smith, they still “have access to a player signing fund from the Ministry of Sport.”
Saudi Arabia’s sports ministry set aside around $800 million (£611m) to help bolster the league’s squads this summer, aiming to make “at least 18 high-profile signings” says the NY Times, who name-checks Henderson.
So that does suggest that funds can be made available, as they appear with the eye-watering wages, but it is possible that Al Ettifaq, as one of the non-PIF clubs, are being given a budget for wages by the government but not for transfer fees.
Either way, Liverpool would want assurances they would receive the full fee for Henderson if they accept an offer having seen a ban imposed on Al Nassr for failing to pay outstanding debts.
There is a lot to consider with this one but one thing we know for sure, the captain will not be allowed to leave without Al Ettifaq paying the right price.