Jordan Henderson has refuted claims that money motivated his decision to leave Liverpool and play in the Saudi Pro League.
The former Reds captain was one of a number of high profile Premier League players to move to Saudi Arabia this past summer after the Gulf state’s Public Investment Fund, which owns Newcastle United, took over the four biggest clubs in the country. Al-Ettifaq, who are not owned by the PIF, paid a £12 million transfer fee for Henderson.
The England international denies reports that he is on £700,000 a week, or £36.4m per annum, and claims that money was not the reason he moved to Saudi Arabia. “In reality that just wasn’t the case at all,” Henderson told The Athletic.
“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.”
Al-Ettifaq are managed by former Aston Villa and Rangers boss Steven Gerrard, who convinced Henderson to make the move. The 33-year-old says that money did not figure in their conversations over the transfer.
“Stevie never mentioned money,” he said. “Everything I spoke to Stevie about was football and the project. And he actually said he didn’t want to get involved in any of the money stuff. It was all about what we could do together to achieve something special and build a club and build the league.”
Henderson added that he is not receiving payments for promoting the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia on social media. “Anything contractually was all to do with football,” he said of the deal.