Jordan Henderson’s controversial spell in Saudi Arabia is set to come to an end. Reports in the UK this morning indicate that the former Liverpool captain has mutually agreed to terminate his current contract with Al Ettifaq. Henderson was earning over $800,000 per week in a three-year deal with the Saudi side.

The move will allow the 33-year-old midfielder to leave the club as a free agent. It also means that Al Ettifaq is not set to receive a transfer fee for the player. However, the Middle Eastern team will be free of Henderson’s massive weekly wages.

Henderson leaves Saudi Arabia after just six months

It was reported earlier in the month that Henderson was looking at ways to end his time in Saudi Arabia. The midfielder only just signed for Al Ettifaq in July under controversial circumstances. During his time with Liverpool, Henderson had strong ties to the Rainbow Laces campaign. The organization helps promote equality and diversity within soccer by providing players with special shoelaces.

Nevertheless, Saudi Arabia currently has intense laws against homosexuality. It is illegal in the Middle Eastern nation. Violators of the law may even face the death penalty if found guilty. As a result of Henderson’s move to the Saudi side, many human rights advocates felt betrayed by the England international.

Henderson, however, now looks set to depart Al Ettifaq after just six months. He managed to record four assists in 17 league matches with the club. The aforementioned news source goes on to claim that the midfielder is flying back to England on Wednesday after agreeing to tear up his contract. The player and club must settle additional paperwork for Henderson to sign with a European club.

Midfielder close to Ajax agreement

After agreeing to depart Saudi Arabia, the English midfielder is now close to joining Ajax. The Eredivisie side is currently experiencing a down year in the current campaign. While they have historically collected the most Dutch top-flight titles, the Sons of the Gods are now fifth in the table. The club also finished a disappointing third in their Europa League group and have since dropped down to the Europa Conference League.

Several European teams, including some Premier League sides, became interested in signing Henderson when news broke of his potential departure from Al Ettifaq. However, the midfielder would face a fairly significant tax issue if he rejoined an English club in 2024.

Current tax laws in the United Kingdom make people who leave the nation for work pay a 45% fee of what they earned, assuming they return within one year. There were previous suggestions that Henderson’s tax bill could be around $9 million if he signed with an English club. This rule influenced the midfielder’s decision to potentially join Ajax.

While the Dutch side has struggled in 2023, things are going better under interim coach John van ‘t Schip. The club is undefeated in Eredivisie play since his arrival in October. Ajax will next host RKC Waalwijk on Sunday, January 21st. It remains unclear if a full agreement with Henderson can finalize in time for the upcoming match.