Jordan Henderson 'knocked on Barcelona's door' as he sought an exit route from Al Ettifaq, according to one report.
The 33-year-old former Liverpool captain is set to leave the Saudi Pro League after just half a season, with his short spell in the Middle East ending in embarrassment.
Henderson's £12m move – and subsequent interview with The Athletic – last summer caused controversy, as he burned bridges with his former club's fanbase and the LGBT+ community he had previously been an advocate for from within men's football.
The midfielder, who insisted he was not moving to Saudi Arabia for the money but to grow the game in a developing league, reportedly struggled to settle in his new surroundings, while Al Ettifaq – managed by Steven Gerrard – struggled on the pitch.
The small attendances at Saudi Pro League fixtures and fears over his place in England's Euro 2024 squad have also been cited as reasons for Henderson's hasty exit.
The former Reds No. 14 is now bound for Ajax, with his contract in Dammam set to be terminated – while reports claim he may never receive any of the £350k-a-week wages from his stint in Saudi Arabia.
According to Catalan outlet SPORT, Henderson also offered to Barcelona "a few weeks ago" as he sought an exit from Al Ettifaq.
The report– which follows claims that Jesse Lingard also presented himself (unsuccessfully) to the La Liga giants – states that the England international "knew the noise" around Barça's interest in signing a midfielder after Gavi's serious injury.
However, Barcelona's decision makers ultimately dismissed the possibility "for many reasons", with the five-time European champions "not in love" with Henderson's profile.
It is noted that instead of moving on the ex-Liverpool skipper, Xavi's side chose to register teenage Brazilian talent Vitor Roque.
Sky Sports report that Henderson will travel to Amsterdam on Thursday to complete his medical, but won't be registered in time to make his Ajax debut this weekend.
The former Sunderland man's new side sit fifth in the Eredivisie – five points off the European qualification spots – after a rocky start to the 2023/24 season.