The Hard Tackle takes a look at three potential destinations for Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson, who faces an uncertain future owing to his contract situation.
Jordan Henderson is the heart of Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool. The 31-year-old midfielder has been the fulcrum of the side that has scaled great heights over the past five years or so. Signed from Sunderland around a decade ago, the Englishman had a difficult time at Anfield and had to dig in and work doubly hard to rise to the level that he has.
There had been many a detractor, numerous doubters when he was handed the captain’s armband following the departure of the Kop’s beloved Steven Gerrard. But, now, a cult hero among the fans, a role model for players coming through and the glue that holds the team together, Henderson’s importance for Klopp & co. goes beyond what he offers on the field.
Closing in on 400 appearances for the club, Henderson will go down in the annals of Liverpool’s history as the man who led the team to their first-ever Premier League title and the sixth European Cup. A celebrated player, one of Klopp’s most-trusted lieutenants, the 31-year-old, though, is staring at an uncertain future at Anfield.
Indeed, Henderson’s contract with Liverpool expires in the summer of 2023 and talks over a renewal haven’t gone as per plans, leading to an impasse claims The Athletic. And with the owners currently focusing on other roster issues, this has left the door open for clubs across Europe to swoop the England international away this summer.
Liverpool lost another influential midfielder, Georginio Wijnaldum, on a free transfer this summer after he ran his contract down, having been unable to come to an agreement over a new deal. And, there may well be a similar situation brewing with Henderson, considering that FSG are often reluctant to hand out big contracts to players over thirty and their captain will be 33 at the time when his current deal runs out.
The development is said to have alerted several top clubs across Europe and The Hard Tackle attempts to list three potential destinations for Henderson should his contract situation lead to an exit from the club.
One of the clubs that have already shown an interest in Henderson, Atletico Madrid could be an intriguing destination for the Liverpool captain. Fresh after beating arch-rivals Real Madrid and Barcelona to the La Liga title, Diego Simeone’s Los Rojiblancos are looking to improve their squad to mount a successful defence of the title and achieve glory in Europe.
And, midfield is an area where they could certainly do with reinforcements even though Rodrigo De Paul has already arrived, as there are question marks surrounding the futures of Saul Niguez, who interestingly has been linked to Liverpool, and Hector Herrera. Henderson, to that end, could be a perfect fit into Simeone’s system owing to his athleticism and work ethic.
Settling at the club should not be an issue either, as Henderson would be reuniting with former Liverpool teammate and close friend Luis Suarez, along with England teammate Kieran Trippier, provided the defender stays at Atletico. A big club with title-winning credentials and a manager who can be every bit as inspiring as Klopp, Atletico could have plenty to offer for Henderson.
Another team that is already said to be keeping a keen eye on the situation revolving around Henderson, Paris Saint-Germain could be an interesting move for the Liverpool skipper in case his time at Anfield is nearing an end. The Parisian giants will be smarting after a disappointing season in which they lost out to Lille in the Ligue 1 title race and yet again failed in their pursuit of Champions League glory.
Building a team to achieve just that, PSG have already brought in two seasoned hands in Sergio Ramos and Henderson’s ex-Liverpool mate Wijnaldum, while also adding a world-class goalkeeper in Gianluigi Donnarumma. And, Henderson could fit like a glove in the midfield department at Parc des Princes, who lack that bit of quality beyond Marco Verratti and Wijnaldum.
Indeed, Ander Herrera has flattered to deceive during his time in Paris and has been linked with an exit, while Idrissa Gueye and Leandro Paredes could also be shown the doors this summer. Manager Mauricio Pochettino is said to be a huge admirer of Henderson, and the Liverpool skipper’s experience and know-how could help PSG bridge that gap in their bid to lift the holy grail that is the Champions League.
Of late, clubs like Arsenal and Juventus have been linked with a move for Henderson, but we go with Barcelona as the third choice on our list of potential destinations for the Liverpool captain. It is no secret that the Catalans are in the market for new midfield reinforcements, and were intent on signing Wijnaldum for the longest time, only to be snubbed by the Dutchman.
With Sergio Busquets needing his game-time managed at 33 and no real alternatives for him at the Catalan club, Henderson could be a viable option for manager Ronald Koeman, who is also set to lose Miralem Pjanic after his disastrous debut season while question marks remain over the future of utility man Sergi Roberto as well.
While Henderson wouldn’t be a long-term option for Barcelona, he would bring a lot of value to the side with his experience, while his ability to essay multiple roles in midfield could also make him a major asset. Things may not have gone well for the last player to travel the road from Anfield to Camp Nou, but there’s every reason to believe that the Liverpool skipper can be a success with the Blaugrana.