Advertisement

Steven Gerrard signs shock new Al-Ettifaq deal despite eight-game winless run

Al Ettifaq coach Steven Gerrard/Steven Gerrard has agreed a deal extending his stay in Saudi Arabia until 2027
Steven Gerrard has agreed a contract extending his stay in Saudi Arabia until 2027 - Getty Images/Yasser Bakhsh

Steven Gerrard has agreed a two-year extension to his contract at Al-Ettifaq but admits his position will be under scrutiny unless he turns results around.

The 43-year-old’s new terms run until 2027 and includes an option to renew at the end of the deal, with the Saudi Pro League club saying it reflects the work done changing the infrastructure of the club who have recently moved stadium and training ground.

But despite winning games at the start of the season, Gerrard has not won a game since October and has seen Jordan Henderson leave for Ajax after failing to settle in the Middle East.

“I also understand my position, it’s a results business. I never take that for granted,” said Gerrard. “I understand where we are in the league, but I am very confident we will improve.

“The window is open at the moment, and we’re working to try and identify players who could come and support the current group of players to make us more competitive at the top end of the table. There will need to be an element of patience as there is still a lot to do on and off the pitch.”

As well as Henderson quitting, Gerrard’s assistant, Ian Foster, returned to England to take charge at Plymouth. The run without a win left Al-Ettifaq eighth in the league. The club have not shown patience with managers in recent seasons, their past three appointments lasting less than a year.

But an extension is a sign of the club’s faith in Gerrard after investing in his squad when he arrived in the summer. Henderson, Georginio Wijnaldum and Demarai Gray, as well as France striker Moussa Dembele, were brought in.

“The easy decision would be to stay in Liverpool, to wait for jobs,” Gerrard added. “But as a family we decided we wanted something a little bit outside the box. I’ve learnt about adapting to a new culture, a new league, making new friends, facing new challenges.”

Broaden your horizons with award-winning British journalism. Try The Telegraph free for 1 month, then enjoy 1 year for just $9 with our US-exclusive offer.