In a surprising turn of events, Steven Gerrard, the former Liverpool captain turned Al-Ettifaq head coach, has reportedly agreed to a two-year contract extension with the Saudi Arabian club.
Despite facing recent challenges and criticism, Gerrard’s commitment to the team remains steadfast.
Gerrard joined Al-Ettifaq in the summer, bringing with him a wealth of experience from his time managing Rangers in the Scottish Premiership. However, the journey in Saudi Arabia has not been without its difficulties.
The team currently sits in eighth place in the Saudi Pro League, a position that has sparked scrutiny given the high-profile player acquisitions made during the transfer window.
The club’s winless run of nine games, during which they managed to score only three goals, had raised questions about Gerrard’s future with the team.
Nevertheless, the extension comes as a vote of confidence from the club’s management, highlighting their belief in Gerrard’s ability to turn the team’s fortunes around.
Notably, the contract extension news follows the unexpected departure of Jordan Henderson, the team’s captain, who terminated his contract with Al-Ettifaq.
Reports suggest that Henderson is now undergoing a medical examination with Ajax. Gerrard’s leadership will be crucial in navigating the team through this period of transition.
The Athletic has reported that Al-Ettifaq has secured Gerrard’s services until 2027 with the new deal. This long-term commitment showcases the club’s determination to build a successful future under Gerrard’s guidance.
Gerrard’s move to Al-Ettifaq came after his dismissal from Premier League side Aston Villa in October 2022. Despite initial reservations, Gerrard embraced the challenge of managing in Saudi Arabia and has been instrumental in shaping the team’s identity.
Before his stint with Villa, Gerrard enjoyed a successful three-year spell managing Rangers, leading them to the Scottish Premiership title in the 2020-21 season. His managerial prowess and ability to inspire players will be crucial as Al-Ettifaq aims to improve on their seventh-placed finish from the previous term.
The club’s ambitious recruitment strategy, which saw the addition of players like Henderson, Georginio Wijnaldum, Demarai Gray, Jack Hendry, and Moussa Dembele, underscores their commitment to elevating their performance.
The success of these signings will be closely watched as Al-Ettifaq strives to climb the ranks in the highly competitive Saudi Pro League.
As Steven Gerrard extends his tenure with Al-Ettifaq, fans and football enthusiasts alike will be eager to witness the impact of his continued leadership on the team’s trajectory in the seasons to come.