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Jordan Henderson leaving Saudi club, having Ajax medical: source

Jordan Henderson has moved a step closer to ending his much-criticised spell with Saudi club Al-Ettifaq by undergoing a medical with Dutch side Ajax, a source close to the negotiations told AFP on Thursday.

The 33-year-old England midfielder has been with the Saudi club for just six months since leaving Liverpool, whom he captained to their first league title in 30 years in 2020 and also to Champions League glory in 2019.

“Henderson came late on the first day of the Abu Dhabi camp. He trained for two days, then missed yesterday’s training, heading to Dubai to undergo medical examinations with Ajax,” the source, speaking on condition of anonymity, told AFP.

“The player justified his desire to leave the club by the request of England national team coach to move to a European club, to be able to participate in the European Cup (Euro 2024),” the source added.

Of all the high-profile players to move to the cash-rich Saudi Premier League, Henderson arguably attracted the most criticism because he had been supportive of LGBTQ+ rights during his career with Liverpool.

Henderson was booed by England supporters last year after moving to Saudi.

Despite a huge investment in foreign players, Al-Ettifaq have hardly set the league alight and the club’s head coach Steven Gerrard — Henderson’s former teammate at Liverpool — is also said to be near to leaving.

Henderson would be a valuable asset to Ajax as they seek to recover from the worst start in their history that left them briefly bottom of the Dutch league.

They have endured a terrible season that culminated in December in a shock 3-2 loss to amateur club Hercules in the cup.

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