Steven Gerrard surprise U-turn as Roberto Firmino move rejected

While Jordan Henderson is on the verge of securing a move to Ajax, two other Liverpool legends appear set to stay in Saudi Arabia.

Former Liverpool captain Henderson is reported to be undergoing a medical on Thursday as he ends his ill-fated half-season stint at Al Ettifaq.

The Dammam-based club have agreed to terminate the England international's contract amid reports of his unhappiness in the Middle East. There are even suggestions Henderson will not see a penny of the £350k-a-week wages he signed up for after leaving Liverpool in a controversial £12m move last summer.

The midfielder's hasty exit had been tipped as the start of a mini-exodus of foreign stars from the Saudi Pro League, with other high-profile names linked with moves away this January.

Among them were ex-Reds Firmino and Gerrard – though both now appear set to remain in Saudi Arabia.

The Athletic reports that Gerrard – currently the manager of Al Ettifaq – will sign a two-year contract extension on his current deal, with the club committed to backing him in the transfer market.

The report comes as something of a surprise after rumours that the ex-Liverpool captain was on the verge of the sack amid a poor run of form.

Al Ettifaq, who signed Demarai Gray and Gini Wijnaldum as well as Henderson last summer, sit eighth in the Pro League table and have not won a game since October, losing three of their last five.

Meanwhile, it appears Firmino too will also remain in Saudi Arabia, despite previous suggestions that he would attempt to push through a transfer this January.

The 32-year-old former Liverpool No. 9 was tipped for a return to the Premier League with Sheffield United, Fulham and even Chelsea all tentatively linked, amid reports he had struggled to settle at Al Ahli.

Firmino has found game time hard to come by in recent months, while his only goals for his new side were scored on the opening day of the 2023/24 season back in August.

El Nacional claims that the Brazilian even offered himself to Real Madrid among other clubs in an attempt to extricate himself from his difficult situation. However, club president Florentino Perez is said to have rejected the move out of hand.

Roberto Firmino, ProShots

It seems that Firmino will continue at Al Ahli for at least the rest of the current season, with transfer reporter Fabrizio Romano dismissing the idea of a transfer.

Speaking on his YouTube channel, he said: “Despite recent rumours and many stories about Chelsea, Man Utd and many other clubs, Roberto Firmino is not leaving the Saudi Pro League during the January transfer window.

“The plan is very clear: everything has been discussed between Firmino and Al-Ahli and he’s not leaving.

“It was not an easy first part of the season for Firmino but the club don’t want him to leave and the player doesn’t want to leave the project. The expectation is to complete the season at Al-Ahli and nothing is changing despite the rumours.”

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