Steven Gerrard reveals REAL reason behind Saudi move as former Rangers boss says Ettifaq switch more than big bucks
Steven Gerrard insists the sporting project had to be right for him as he opens up on his move to Saudi Arabia.
The Liverpool legend and former Rangers boss needed some convincing but eventually put pen to paper on returning to management in the middle-east as Ettifaq boss. Saudi Pro League clubs went on a transfer spree in the summer with eye-watering wages on offer to some of Europe's stars, with Jack Hendry, Moussa Dembele and Jordan Henderson amongst those joining Gerrard's plans.
Accusations that the stars are heading out of Europe for the cash has been a well-used theory, but Gerrard insists he needed a new challenge outside of Britain after spells as Rangers and Aston Villa manager. Speaking to Alarabiya, he insists he doesn't know a whole lot about the financial side of things at Ettifaq. He explained: "I can't control what any media outlet says in terms of their own opinion. I am not someone who makes decisions just on finances. Of course in every job in the world, finances are discussed, and that is part and parcel of getting a job.
"But I can't control what people's opinions are. For me, it's important the sport project is the most important thing. That's right, the challenge is exciting, that there is a big opportunity there.
"The second thing is it needs to be right for your family. At the time I was ready for a new challenge and I wanted something different outside England and the UK. I wanted to take my family out of the comfort zone and go on a new journey.
"Once I knew the football project was right and it was right for my family, you start discussing personal terms. You discuss bringing your team of staff, and to be fair to Ettifaq they have given me the support, the opportunity, and now it is time to repay their faith and do the best job I can do.
"There's going to be a lot of opinions around me, the Saudi Pro League, different players coming to the league. You can't control that and accept that is part and parcel of the media. I know why I am here, I am here for football reasons.
"I am here because I feel I can make a difference to the club and Saudi talent within that. We identified certain area of the squad we felt needed support and I have had terrific support from the board. In terms of the financial side, I don't' really get involved in that side, that is for other people to focus on, my job is to coach the team, identify players and try and execute them in terms of the transfer window to bring them in."