The first casualty of the Saudi Pro League is Jordan Henderson, who returned to Europe within just six months. Having left Liverpool last year, he joined Saudi side Al Ettifaq under the lure of huge wages. But his stint there did not go as he had hoped for, and soon he was pining for a return to Europe.
And after many days of negotiations, the Englishman has terminated his contract with the club. He then immediately joined Dutch club Ajax, to help them in one of the most difficult seasons. He has already started to help them in a big way, without playing a single game.
Jordan Henderson on course to Ajax history
Having signed a two-and-a-half year contract at Ajax, Jordan Henderson has come at a time when the club is heavily suffering. Poor performances and results have disillusioned the fans, and they were in the relegation zone earlier. Thankfully, they are in 5th place now, but still out of any European spots.
So when they got a chance to add a midfielder like Henderson to the team, they did not hesitate. Undoubtedly, the former Liverpool captain has much to offer the Dutch giants. Unexpectedly, he has helped them in another aspect as well.
Already, he has broken a record at the club, and that is the fastest-selling shirt of an individual player. Within 24 hours, his No. 6 shirt has sold out more times than the previous numbers of Dusan Tadic and Daley Blind. His shirt sales in a day are more than the two Ajax legend’s combined in their first week. He is still yet to break the record for the Bob Marley special edition shirt from the 2021–22 campaign. Though that was not of a player, Henderson’s shirt sale could soon beat that as well.
It seems that fans are genuinely excited about the new English midfielder and are grasping for his shirts. This will no doubt earn Ajax some extra revenue as well, already justifying the decision to bring in Henderson to the club.
Henderson snubbed from number 14 jersey due to Ajax legend
However, while Jordan Henderson is already a big hit among fans with his jersey, he did not get his preferred shirt number. The Englishman was known to wear the No. 14 jersey throughout his Liverpool career and even at Al Ettifaq.
But he was allowed to wear the No. 14 jersey at the Dutch club and instead had to settle for the No. 6 jersey. That is because the No. 14 shirt is associated with Dutch and Ajax legend Johan Cruyff, one of the most influential individuals in the sport. When he retired from the sport, Ajax also retired his jersey number to honor him as one of their legends. This was even confirmed in the official announcement video of Henderson’s transfer by the club.
Henderson said that he was initially confused but was later clarified on the situation: “I saw that 14 wasn’t available so initially I thought it was free, so then I was speaking to my friend and I was like ‘I’m sure that’s Cruyff number’ and he said, ‘is that not retired? So we googled it and it made sense. I was getting excited for a little bit I thought it was meant to be but then it quickly changed.”
The Premier League and Champions League winners understood the decision and weren’t bothered by it. “It makes total sense and to be honest I’m not bothered about numbers. 14 was big for me at Liverpool but I’ve had loads of numbers throughout my career.”
Jordan Henderson could make his debut for Ajax in their next Eredivisie match against Heracles on Sunday.