David Ornstein has confirmed that “contacts” have told him that Jordan Henderson’s salary at Al-Ittihad is “significantly” lower than £700,000 a week.
Liverpool allowed Henderson to leave Anfield for £12m in the summer transfer window with reports that Saudi Pro League side Al-Ittihad had agreed to pay him £700k a week for the duration of his stay.
But in a controversial interview with The Athletic journalists Ornstein and Adam Crafton, former Liverpool midfielder Henderson laughed off those figures as false.
When asked if the reports were true, Henderson replied: “No. I wish it was (laughs). No, honestly, the numbers just aren’t true. But again, it had to work out for us financially as well. I’m not saying that it didn’t and I’m not saying, “Oh, I’m not on good money” because it’s good money and it was a good deal but it wasn’t the numbers that were reported. No.”
In a roundtable on The Athletic Football Podcast, Ornstein and Crafton discuss whether a move makes sense for him and his family.
Crafton said: “Yes, he’s had a great career in England, won lots at Liverpool, been the vice-captain of England as well as captain of Liverpool and maybe it’s time to take a nice payday? But Henderson was very insistent that he wasn’t motivated by money. Very insistent.
“We put to him that there had been very significant reporting around him earning potentially four times his Liverpool salary in Saudi Arabia. He said that wasn’t true. He said the only point at which he spoke to Steven Gerrard, the Al Ettifaq manager, was about the football, not about the money side of things.
“Clearly, there will be a level of scepticism around things that he said. But Jordan’s allowed to defend himself and he’s allowed to give his version of events. And that’s what he says.”
Ornstein added: “Well, there’s one misnomer on this from my information, and that’s that Jordan Henderson is earning £700,000 a week. I’ve spoken to some pretty decent contacts who say the number is lower than that, quite significantly. So I think we do need to just respect his words on it being lower.”
When asked about how the interview came about, Ornstein replied: “Since Jordan Henderson moved over to Saudi Arabia or even since reports surfaced that it was a possibility, everybody within this industry has wanted to speak to him to hear his version of events, and so everybody of repute within our environment would have been requesting it.
“It was confirmed at pretty short notice that this would be going ahead. And the desire was for both myself and Adam (Crafton) to do it; that was Jordan’s preference. Adam is a member of the LGBTQ+ community and a brilliant journalist, and I think Jordan wanted to front up in this way, have questions asked of him that haven’t been asked so far and provide answers that there’s been a bit of a vacuum on.
“There was nothing off-limits. There were no areas that we couldn’t go down or that we were told to go down. There was no copy approval. There was no audio or video.
“Many people were saying that Jordan Henderson has to talk, and there was a lot of anger and frustration that he hadn’t given his version of events so far. He hadn’t put his head above the parapet and there has been a mixed reaction. It’s been pretty polarising, but it has really set the agenda and got people talking. And it was a real privilege for us to have the opportunity to do it.”
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