Al Ettifaq consider moves for Liverpool duo nearing end of contracts

Al Ettifaq could revisit moves for Liverpool duo Joel Matip and Thiago Alcantara this summer as both players approach the end of their contracts at Anfield.

Ettifaq boss Steven Gerrard has openly called for reinforcements during a difficult campaign which has seen his side fall down to eighth in the Saudi Pro League standings, but recruiting expensive players from overseas in January has already been ruled out due to budgetary restrictions and foreign player quotas.

As a result, Ettifaq officials are working on their summer transfer strategy and 90min understands they are likely to try and utilise Gerrard’s links back in Europe to land their targets.

Matip and Thiago were both considered last summer, before Ettifaq ultimately struck a deal for midfielder Jordan Henderson, and moves could be revisited this year as the pair approach the end of their contracts.

Ettifaq are free to hold talks with both players directly as Matip and Thiago are in the final six months of their contracts with Liverpool.

Gerrard is also keen to reunite with winger Ryan Kent. A product of the Liverpool academy, Kent joined Gerrard’s Rangers side in 2018 and dazzled in Scotland before joining Turkish giants Fenerbahce on a free transfer last summer.

Thiago AlcantaraThiago Alcantara

Thiago & Matip are on expiring contracts / Matthew Ashton – AMA/GettyImages

Kent, now 27, has struggled for minutes this year and is understood to be exploring his options, with Ettifaq currently considering whether to make him an offer.

Gerrard left Rangers for Aston Villa, where he linked up with winger Bertrand Traore, and the 28-year-old is also understood to be on Ettifaq’s list of potential targets. Another target is Al Hilal midfielder Abdulelah Al-Malki.

Much of Ettifaq’s transfer business will revolve around the future of Henderson, who is understood to be unsettled in Saudi Arabia and could be offered a route back to Europe in January.

Ettifaq are not planning to sell Henderson and would demand a significant fee to part ways with the England international if they are to change their mind. That won’t happen unless Henderson tells the club to their face he wants to leave. This hasn’t happened yet and until it does Saudi dealmakers are treatings suggestions of a departure as what multiple sources still term “rumour”. 


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