Jordan Henderson
Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson AFP / Paul ELLIS

It looks like Premier League side Liverpool FC may be the next club to lose their captain due to a lucrative offer from Saudi Arabia. Following the departure of Real Madrid captain Karim Benzema who left to join Saudi Pro League side Al-Ittihad earlier this summer, Liverpool skipper Jordan Henderson is now said to be on the verge of accepting a massive deal from Al-Ettifaq.

The news came at the heels of the confirmation that Liverpool legend Steven Gerrard, who used to be teammates with Henderson at Anfield, has agreed to become the new Al-Ettifaq head coach. As such, Henderson will be welcomed by a familiar face should he accept the offer that is reportedly on the table.

An offer he can't refuse?

According to The Athletic, Henderson would be hard pressed to say no to the deal, which promises to give him four times the salary he currently earns with the Reds. Of course, the Saudi Pro League is not the Premier League, but the eye-popping contract will see him earn significantly more over a short period of time.

The 33-year-old is no spring chicken, but he is certainly still young and capable enough to lead a top European club like Liverpool. He is not exactly earning peanuts at Liverpool either. Henderson is currently believed to be receiving a salary of £190k-a-week at Anfield.

It seems like a good amount, but it pales in comparison to the alleged £700k-a-week that is being offered by the club from the Middle East. On top of that, any earnings from the oil-rich state would be tax free for Henderson, making his potential salary gargantuan compared to what he is currently earning.

Liverpool may still be able to convince Henderson to stay

Despite what seems to be an obvious choice for a majority of the world population, Henderson may still choose to stay in England. He is believed to be keen on staying in the radar of Gareth Southgate so that he can be called up for Euro 2024. Even if Liverpool don't win any titles in the coming season, there is a high chance that Henderson can showcase his talents enough to earn the approval of the England manager. Henderson has 77 caps for England so far, and leaving the continent will put him out of sight, and possibly out of mind for England's upcoming tournaments.

There won't be a shortage of English players who are currently in Europe's top five leagues, and the standard of play there will make Southgate more keen on choosing from that pool.

On top of that, Henderson still has two years left in his contract with Liverpool. While a potential buy-out fee is probably not be a problem for Al-Ettifaq, Henderson may want to keep playing with the team where he has enjoyed a good run since joining from Sunderland back in 2011.

According to The Sun, Henderson is set to sit down with manager Jurgen Klopp to discuss his future. What transpires in that conversation may be able to determine the player's decision. It is no secret that Liverpool only finished fifth in the league last season, leaving them out of the UEFA Champions League spots just four years since lifting the trophy.

The club is in serious need of a revamp, and it remains to be seen if Klopp would make a strong case for Henderson to stay and be part of the project or not. Manchester City clinched the league title once more in 2022-23, but their main rivals were Arsenal and not Liverpool.

The club has already been reinforced with the arrivals of Alexis Mac Allister from Brighton and Hungary star Dominik Sbozoszlai. It is unclear if those signings will play any role in Henderson's decision.

Saudi Pro League is on a mission

Meanwhile, the Saudi Pro League has practically transformed itself in the seven months since the arrival of Manchester United and Real Madrid legend Cristiano Ronaldo. The football world previously thought of the Middle East as a place where elderly players can wind down their careers, pretty much like the leagues in China and the United States.

It is also where managers who are starting out their careers can gain experience before hopefully getting scouted by the big European clubs. Gerrard was though to have had reservations before agreeing to the move to join Al-Ettifaq, but the lucrative offer has convinced him, along with the quality of the players that have started arriving in the country.

Gerard himself played in the MLS after a stellar career with Liverpool, and he is very familiar with how players and managers view the competitions outside of Europe. However, this summer has seen an influx of arrivals and while many are in the twilight of their careers, they are certainly not at retirement level such as Benzema, who is the current Ballon d'Or holder.

Apart from Benzema, N'Golo Kante and Roberto Firminho are confirmed to be continuing their careers with Saudi clubs.

Former Manchester United forward Jesse Lingard, and keeper David de Gea are also believed to be in talks to join Saudi Arabian clubs. Even Paul Pogba and Romelu Lukaku are reported to have received offers to head to the oil-rich state.

Despite all this, not everyone has been blinded by the oil riches. Seven-time Ballon d'Or winner Lionel Messi has opted to join Inter Miami despite having a massive offer from Al-Hilal. Real Madrid midfielder Luka Modric has just extended his contract with the Spanish giants and is believed to have turned down an offer from Saudi as well.