Pochettino hints at Henderson’s potential transfer to Chelsea in January
Chelsea boss Mauricio Pochettino may have already hinted at a deal for former Liverpool midfielder Jordan Henderson in the January transfer window. It comes as the Blues continue to be linked with a potential switch for the England international, just six-months after his move to Saudi Arabia.
Henderson won eight trophies in his time with the Reds before leaving them in the summer, having been part of a mass squad overhaul. The decision to join the Saudi Pro League was one that came under plenty of criticism, especially given the human rights record in the country.
The 33-year-old had been a voice for the Rainbow Laces campaign, looking to be an ally of the LGBTQ+ community, but the switch to Al Ettifaq put questions over his place supporting that cause. “I can understand the frustration. I can understand the anger. I get it,” Henderson told the Athletic in September on the backlash.
“All I can say around that is that I’m sorry that they feel like that. My intention was never, ever to hurt anyone. My intention has always been to help causes and communities where I felt like they had asked for my help. Now, when I was making the decision, the way that I tried to look at it was I felt as though, by myself not going, we can all bury our heads in the sand and criticise different cultures and different countries from afar. But then nothing’s going to happen. Nothing’s going to change.”
Fast forward a few months and it appears as though the time in Saudi Arabia could be short lived after recent reports claim that a move away is desired. Chelsea have been one of those teams linked, with Pochettino asked about whether the midfielder would be an option on the cards.
Responding to whether Henderson could join Chelsea this winter window, the head coach said: “To be honest we didn’t talk about names. At the moment we are not talking about bringing players. I saw Behdad [Eghbali] here in the manager’s room with Paul [Winstanley] and Laurence [Stewart].
“I think tomorrow we are going to have a chat because we will be in the training ground. We didn’t talk about names or talk about position, we didn’t talk to bring players. For now, we are focusing on players like Andrey Santos to see what we are going to do.”
While he hasn’t outright said a deal may be on, Pochettino has hardly denied it after hinting at the desire to add an experienced midfielder last summer. Speaking in pre-season, he said: “At the moment, we are working to reinforce that area [midfield], and other areas also… We are working very hard to try to add more players in different areas and hope that is possible soon.
“[We] need at least one more [midfielder] and we are working on that. It depends on what happens in the next few weeks. We will decide and take our decision. [We] need one more with experience.”
That experience didn’t quite follow, but in Henderson they could have that captaincy option that will add that knowhow that Pochettino is looking for.