Liverpool are bracing for a strong Al Ettifaq bid for Jordan Henderson but will resist any attempts to price their captain for cheap.
The Reds captain is said to be open to a move to Saudi Arabia, where he will join Anfield legend Steven Gerrard.
But Al Ettifaq must now agree a fee with Liverpool if they are to achieve their goal of bringing Henderson to Dammam this summer.
Sources close to the Saudi club have suggested to This Is Anfield that their preference would be for a cut-price deal, even considering a free transfer.
The rationale is that the option could appeal to the Reds based on a desire to take the 33-year-old’s salary off the books as they continue to rebuild. Henderson is reportedly making £190,000 a week, saving Liverpool almost £20million over the remaining two years of his contract.
However, Liverpool are expected to remain firm in negotiations over a player who will still be part of Jurgen Klopp’s plans for the new season.
They are reluctant to drop their captain, a current England international with two years remaining on his current contract.
Kalidou Koulibaly’s £20m move from Chelsea to Al Hilal earlier this month has been privately cited as a potential benchmark for any negotiations.
It remains to be seen whether Al Ettifaq will live up to those expectations, although the huge sums they have reportedly offered Henderson will do little to bolster their bargaining position.
The Saudi Pro League club have reportedly offered to quadruple the midfielder’s current deal if they accept.