Phil Thompson: Henderson couldn’t say no to massive Saudi league offer

As Jordan Henderson waves goodbye to Liverpool, Phil Thompson says the deal was too big to turn down

Jurgen Klopp Jordan Henderson James Milner


Jordan Henderson departs to link-up with his former captain Steven Gerrard at Al Ettifaq in Saudi Arabia having captained the Reds to winning a Champions League, a Premier League, a FIFA Club World Cup, as well as a Super Cup and two League Cups. 

We speak to Phil Thompson about the controversary surrounding his move to Saudi Arabia where he’ll earn a staggering £700k per week.

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I think Jordan Henderson has thought long and hard about this transfer. The moral issue is a big issue. I’ve loved him being my captain at my football club. He’s done it with distinction, he’s done it with honour, he’s done it with grace. He’s spoken very, very well on football topics and other topics. So that is a moral issue, and he will have thought long and hard because he knows the sorts of criticism that will come with such a decision.

What comes before anything in your life and anything else? It is your family. And your family is so important, and people will go ‘Oh, well, he’s being well paid, anyway’. This is game changing for your mother and father, for your generations to come, for your brothers and your sisters, anybody you can help out. This is getting £700,000 per week. That is massive.

The moral issue is huge, however and I would think it’s debated long and hard, and I think he’s spoken to a lot of people and I suggested very early that he puts all the fors and all the againsts, write them down and see what you come up with. It will help him make the right decision.

And I think he has made the right decision. Why? I think that because of the moral issue; he can go there, now the people out there in Saudi Arabia will look at this man, and they will know his track record and what he has stood for.


So you’re going out there, amongst the Saudi Arabian people, and you can maybe champion those causes. He’s not going to bang drums about gay rights and other issues but I would think that him being out there helps their causes as much. Maybe people will be thinking I’m speaking with a Liverpool head on but I’m not. I do think it will help people.

I think it’s a move where there’s been a lot of chat with Jurgen Klopp where he sees his position at Liverpool, and I will think he was told that with Dominik Szoboszlai and Alexis Mac Allister coming in, who both can play in his position, at the side of a holding midfield player, is that his minutes will have been diminished.

I think him leaving now, he’s not been able to have a great goodbye to Liverpool fans but we have great fondness for him, and he has done wonderful things for us both on and off the pitch and he goes with all of all our lesson

It’s been a stellar career. He’s won, many, many trophies at Liverpool and at 33 years of age I think has done his best for Liverpool.

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