Steven Gerrard has agreed to extend his contract as head coach of Al Ettifaq, a new report has revealed – the club soon to be deserted by former Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson.
The legendary Reds midfielder headed to Saudi Arabia after being sacked by Aston Villa in October 2022, having previously been in charge of Rangers for three seasons.
Al Ettifaq are not one of the four Saudi Pro League teams owned and financed by PIF, but they have spent significant money on signings after hiring Gerrard to try and elevate their standing in the game and compete with their rivals.
Henderson was Al Ettifaq’s most high-profile acquisition in the summer – Moussa Dembele, Demarai Gray, Georginio Wijnaldum and Jack Hendry also arrived in the Middle East – but he looks set to desert the club after just six months, cancelling his contract to join Eredivisie giants Ajax in the hope of retaining a place in England’s squad for Euro 2024.
Al Ettifaq are currently on an eight-match winless run dating back to November, but The Athletic report that Gerrard has been rewarded with a contract extension until 2027 – one that he has already agreed to sign.
The club are said to be committed to providing Gerrard with the necessary funds to strengthen, with player development also an important part of the former England captain’s remit.
Gerrard’s first venture into management was with Rangers in June 2018, when he succeeded Graeme Murty in the Ibrox hot seat. He led the club to a first Scottish Premiership title in a decade in his third season, going unbeaten for the entire campaign en route to picking up 102 points – 25 more than rivals Celtic.
He left Rangers in favour of joining Aston Villa in November 2021, tasked with turning around their Premier League fortunes after a disappointing end to Dean Smith’s tenure. But he won just 13 games from a possible 40 in all competitions – his win percentage half of what he achieved in Scotland – and was sacked after less than a year in the role.
Al Ettifaq came calling in July, luring Gerrard to the cash-rich Middle East, but his side are currently eighth in the Saudi Pro League table and are falling short of expectations.
What we know
- Gerrard has been in charge of Al Ettifaq for just over six months
- Club have gone eight games without a win in Saudi Pro League and Jordan Henderson is close to leaving
- Despite recent struggles, Gerrard has agreed contract extension running until 2027.