Jordan Henderson has joked he wishes Liverpool ‘just paid the money’ and signed Jude Bellingham.
Reds fans were convinced their former captain, who left Anfield this summer for Steven Gerrard’s Al Etiffaq, was going to persuade his talented England teammate to move from Borussia Dortmund to Merseyside this summer.
However, Bellingham signed for Real Madrid in the end, moving on an initial £88.5million deal.
But despite Liverpool going on to sign other star midfielders including Alexis Mac Allister from Brighton, Henderson now admits he was thinking what most Liverpool fans were when they missed out on Bellingham, and says he even voiced his opinion on signing him.
“Maybe not to the owners but you can probably think of certain players that I might have tried for in the past, especially recently!” he told The Athletic in an interview that also saw him defend his move to Saudi Arabia.
Laughing, Henderson continued: “Which looking back now, he’s on fire so I might have thought we should have just paid the money!
“But in the end they have a structure, they have a plan and if it doesn’t fall within that then they’re not going to change for it. Because it has a knock-on effect.
“It’s great to sign these amazing players with loads of wages and it’s amazing for everyone. But in the end you’ll then have different players coming in wanting different money, you’ve got players within saying, ‘Well, I want…’. It causes loads of different issues within.
“They always have a plan, always have a strategy and they know what they’re doing. The most important thing is they care about the club and that’s the biggest thing I would say about them.”
Liverpool’s owners, Fenway Sports Group, owned the club for the entirety of Henderson’s time on Merseyside.
Despite the Reds winning the Premier League and Champions League in that time, some Liverpool fans have been highly critical of their owners, with some believing they haven’t backed manager Jurgen Klopp enough in the transfer market.
However, Henderson has nothing but praise for the owners of his former club – even if they did miss out on signing his England teammate.
“Honestly, I can only have positive things to say about the ownership,” he said.
“They’ve been so good. It’s plain for everybody to see. When they came in and took the club over to where it is now and what they’ve achieved in that time — pretty much the same length of time as I’ve been there — has been remarkable, really.
“These guys are smart people. They know what they’re doing. They’re not a club that’s going to go and splash 100, 200, 300 million on a player. They know what they need and sometimes — in my situation — that’s not nice at times. But it’s the best thing for the club. It’s the best thing for the team.
“I saw Jurgen said a few days ago that he’s really happy with the transfer window and he loves his team. Which tells you the players that left, he probably wanted to go and the players that have come in, he probably wanted to sign. So they’ll have had a plan. It’s not as if they just went last minute, ‘Oh Jordan’s going and Fabinho’s going, Milner’s going’. There’s always a plan, there’s always a strategy, especially with this ownership.
“And to be honest, I always felt as though they had the best interests of the club at heart. They never take any money out of the club. They invest it all back in the club — whether that’s with the stadium, training ground, players. But at the same time, they’re clever in what they do with the money.
“They’re not going to go and spend a ridiculous amount of fees and wages on players because it will upset the structure, as much as I tried with certain players in the past! They stick to their principles and it has worked.”
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