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Saudi chief says league is ‘learning a lot of lessons’ after Henderson exit

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A SAUDI PRO LEAGUE boss has claimed they are “learning a lot of lessons” from the disappointing signing of Jordan Henderson.

The England midfielder, 33, endured less than six months of his three-year deal with Middle Eastern outfit Al-Ettifaq.

He joined Steven Gerrard’s side in the summer, only to leave for Dutch giants Ajax in the January window.

Henderson, who played 19 times in Saudi, was widely criticised for making the switch to Al-Ettifaq.

He had previously been an LGBTQ+ ally – with same-sex relationships a crime in Saudi Arabia.

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And he hinted that he regretted the move during his Ajax unveiling last month.

Now Saudi Pro League vice-chairman Saad Al Lazeez has spoken about the transfer.

And while he was adamant Henderson had a positive impact, he also admitted “it did not work out”.

He told the Financial Times Business of Football Summit on Wednesday: “Jordan Henderson, even though he left, was one of the best signings in the Saudi Pro League.

“We signed 93 players in the summer window, and I would say 28 to 30 of them would be in anybody’s list of the top 300 players, and you don’t expect all of them to stay.

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“Sometimes things do not work out, sometimes the player does not adapt, you expect those things to happen.

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“But I still maintain Jordan Henderson was one of our best signings, we benefited a great deal from his signing, we’re learning a lot of lessons and we will continue to grow from there.

“We have been with Jordan throughout his journey from the day we signed him in the UK. We still maintain a good relationship with him. He’s a great guy, a great person. It just did not work out. So that’s life.”

Jordan Henderson takes MEGA £500k-per-week pay cut to quit Saudi side Al-Ettifaq and join Dutch giants Ajax

Henderson spoke about his time with Al-Ettifaq after his move to Ajax was confirmed in January.

He said: “In life, if you want to call them regrets or mistakes, you can call them that.

“But, at the same time, they’re only mistakes if you don’t learn from them.

“Looking back, at the time, obviously it was a big decision. It was a decision I felt was right for me and my family at the time, but things happen. Things change quickly in football.

“I had to make another decision and this (joining Ajax) is the one I felt was right decision for me.”

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Henderson’s start to life at Ajax has not gone according to plan after he was dropped to the bench for their clash with AZ Alkmaar on Sunday.

It came just one week after he captained the club in a 2-2 draw against NEC Nijmegen.

Source: The Sun

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