Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson is reportedly close to finalizing a move to Saudi Arabian club Al-Ettifaq, managed by former Liverpool player Steven Gerrard.
The England midfielder has been the subject of a $16m (£12m/€14m) bid, which Liverpool has accepted (as per the ECHO). Additionally, Brazilian midfielder Fabinho is also in talks to join Saudi Pro League champions Al-Ittihad in a $52m (£40m/€47m) deal, although there is now doubt over the transfer (as per The Athletic). Both players were allowed to leave Liverpool's squad to negotiate their respective moves.
The proposed transfers have sparked controversy, particularly in relation to the human rights situation in Saudi Arabia. Homosexuality is illegal in the country and is punishable by death, leading to criticism of Henderson's decision to entertain a move to Al-Ettifaq after previously showing support for the LGBT+ community.
Liverpool youngster Fábio Carvalho was asked for his opinion on Henderson's and Fabinho's potential moves to Saudi Arabia during an interview with FootballTransfers (via the Mirror). Carvalho responded by saying: "If they want to do what they want to do, then that's their choice."
Carvalho, who recently joined RB Leipzig on a season-long loan from Liverpool, expressed his own preference to continue playing in Europe. He has no interest in joining a Saudi club "anytime soon."
The potential transfers of Henderson and Fabinho are part of a trend of Premier League players moving to Saudi Arabia. Notable names such as N'Golo Kanté, Édouard Mendy, Ruben Neves, Karim Benzema, and Sadio Mané have already made moves to Saudi Arabian clubs.
Liverpool's official LGBT+ fan group, Kop Outs, has called on Henderson to reject the opportunity to move to Saudi Arabia, highlighting concerns about working for a regime where women and LGBT+ people are oppressed. Ex-Reds skipper Graeme Souness, who has spoken out against homophobia, also urged Henderson to reconsider his decision, stating that it could damage his legacy as an ally of the LGBTQ+ community.
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