Money has never been a motivation… Jordan Henderson gives a behind-the-scenes look at his move to the Middle East

Money has never been a motivation... Jordan Henderson gives a behind-the-scenes look at his move to the Middle East Transfers

England midfielder Jordan Henderson joined Liverpool in 2011 from his hometown Sunderland. Under former manager Brendan Rodgers, he was considered for release and was not an absolute regular, but under Jurgen Klopp, he has awakened.

He was valued as a player who could embody the Gegen Press, and he led the team’s intense pressing in the midfield. As captain, he has been the spiritual pillar of the team, inspiring the players not only on the pitch but also off the pitch, and has helped the team win numerous titles.

He was expected to continue his career at Anfield this season, but he shook his head at an approach from Saudi Arabia and moved to Al-Ettifaq under the leadership of Steven Gerrard.

In a shocking move, the England midfielder said money was not the only factor, but that he felt he was not wanted at Liverpool.

“There were a few things that sent alarm bells ringing, I’ve got a very good relationship with Jurgen. He was very honest with me.”

“I won’t go into detail about the conversation because it’s private, but it put me in a position where I knew that I wasn’t going to be playing as much. I knew there were going to be new players coming in my position.”

“And if I’m not playing, as anybody will know, especially the manager, that can be quite difficult for me and especially when I’ve been at a club for so long, I’ve captained the team for so long. Especially when England’s a big thing for me. You’ve got the Euros coming up. And then there was an approach from Al-Ettifaq to the club to see if it would be possible for me to go there.”

“The reaction from the club again wasn’t to say no. At that moment I felt as though my value or the want for me to stay, with the manager and within the club, maybe it had shifted. I knew that time would come at some point. I didn’t think it would be now. And I had to accept that.”

“If one of those people said to me, ‘now we want you to stay’, then we wouldn’t be having this conversation. And I have to then think about what’s next for me in my career. Now, that’s not to say that they forced me out of the club or they were saying they wanted me to leave but at no point did I feel wanted by the club or anyone to stay.”

“I’m at the latter stage of my career and I want to be happy playing football. I want to play. I don’t want to be sitting on the bench and coming on for 10 minutes in games. And I knew that would have an effect on my chances of playing for England.”

“That was the hardest thing. People will see this club come with loads of money and he’s just gone, ‘yeah, I’m going’. When in reality that just wasn’t the case at all,” 

“People can believe me or not, but in my life and my career, money has never been a motivation. Ever.

“Don’t get me wrong, when you move, the business deal has to be tight. You have to have financials, you have to feel wanted, you have to feel valued. And money is a part of that. But that wasn’t the sole reason. And these possibilities came up before money was even mentioned.”

“No, honestly, the numbers just aren’t true. But again, it had to work out for us financially as well. I’m not saying that it didn’t and I’m not saying, ‘oh, I’m not on good money’, because it’s good money and it was a good deal but it wasn’t the numbers that were reported. No.”

The Athletic