Steven Gerrard: The former Liverpool midfielder has been appointed manager of Saudi Pro League Al-Ettifaq.
In June, the 43-year-old stated that he had been invited to the country to “look at a potential offer,” but that he would not accept it.
“Without a doubt, Gerrard’s presence will be an addition and a quantum leap to our league,” stated the club’s chairman, Khalid Al-Dabal.
Gerrard has agreed to terms with the Saudi club on a two-year contract.
Last season, Al-Ettifaq finished seventh in the 16-team Saudi Pro League, 35 points behind champions Al-Ittihad.
Gerrard has been unemployed since he was fired as Aston Villa manager in October of last year.
The former England midfielder’s move to Saudi Arabia comes after a summer of considerable investment by Pro League clubs in the Middle East, with several elite European players joining Manchester United forward Cristiano Ronaldo.
Why is the Saudi Pro League bringing in Premier League players?
Former Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema, Wolves midfielder Ruben Neves, and Chelsea trio N’Golo Kante, Kalidou Koulibaly, and Edouard Mendy are among those who have moved to Saudi Arabia, with Inter Milan’s Marcelo Brozovic to Al-Nasr being the most recent.
Fulham were successful. Marco Silva is also said to have rejected down a £17 million deal to coach Al-Hilal.
The trend underscores the league’s aim to be one of the top five in the world, and it comes on the heels of a June decision by Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF), which owns Newcastle United, to take over four of the country’s leading clubs. Al-Ettifaq is not one of them.
Gerrard resigned from playing in 2016 and took over as manager of Scottish team Rangers.
He took over at Ibrox in 2018 and is aiming to win the Scottish Premiership for the first time in ten years in 2020-21.
Gerrard subsequently took over as Villa manager in November 2021, but resigned after only 13 wins in 40 games.