England midfielder Jordan Henderson has signed for Ajax Amsterdam after terminating his contract with Saudi Pro League side Al-Ettifaq after six months, the two clubs said on Thursday (Jan 18).
Henderson joined Al-Ettifaq on a three-year deal after 12 years at Premier League side Liverpool.
“I’m sad to say that I will be leaving Al Ettifaq with immediate effect. It wasn’t an easy decision but one that I feel is best for me and my family,” Henderson said on X.
“I want to take this opportunity to thank the club and the fans for all the support during my time. I really felt the love from day one. I’ll keep watching & hoping for your success. Good luck for the future,” he added.
With former Liverpool and England captain Steven Gerrard as coach, Henderson made 17 league appearances for the Dammam-based club, who sit eighth in the standings.
“Ajax has reached an agreement with Jordan Henderson on his transfer to Amsterdam. The midfielder played for Al-Ettifaq in the past six months,” Ajax said in a statement.
Al-Ettifaq said they had “mutually agreed” to terminate the contract “with immediate effect”.
“The decision follows an amicable conclusion to the relationship with the player,” the Saudi team said.
The move came the same day that Gerrard, 43, extended his contract with the club by two years to 2027.
Henderson’s lucrative switch to Saudi Arabia, where homosexuality is illegal, was criticised as the 33-year-old has long been a supporter of the LGBTQ+ community.
The midfielder was booed by fans when he appeared for England in a friendly against Australia at Wembley in October.
“I can understand the anger. I get it. All I can say around that is that I’m sorry that they feel like that. My intention was never, ever to hurt anyone,” Henderson told the Athletic in September in response to the criticism.
Henderson’s move to Ajax comes with the Dutch club fifth in the Eredivisie, 23 points behind leaders PSV Eindhoven; a disappointing start for the 36-time champions who have not finished outside the top three since 2006.
They have also dropped to the Europa Conference League after finishing third in their Europa League group.
Ajax face RKC Waalwijk in their next league game on Sunday.