Henry is coming back to Arsenal

As everyone knows Thierry Henry was given his chance at Monaco by Arsene Wenger when he was 17.   In 98 he went to Juve, was a flop playing just 12 games and getting 3 goals.  During the period when Wenger was in Japan and Henry was in Italy, the two spoke regularly on the phone and, so the story is told, Wenger helped Henry through his difficult times.  Having sold Henry to Italy for £17m he bought Henry to Arsenal for £14, and Henry went on to fame and fortune, before being sold to Barca.

As I said, everyone knows that.  So what’s new?

What’s new are two facts.  One that Henry has said that his heart will always be with Arsenal, and that he wants to return in some capacity.  The other is that Henry is in regular touch with Adebayor.

Putting 1 and 1 together is not difficult.  If he is in touch with Ade Henry will certainly be in touch with his absolute mentor – Arsene Wenger.  And just as Wenger brought Henry out of the cold once before, he will do it again.  Not in a playing capacity of course, but either as a coach or as a scout.  

Times are not good at Barca.  Henry doesn’t manage that many games, he comes on as a sub or makes way for a sub.  His back is playing him up, and he doesn’t score anything like the number of goals that he did at Arsenal.

So why did Henry go to Barca, and why indeed did Barca want him?

Henry had problems in London – not least of which was his divorce.  Also he knew he was losing it – the back was playing up, and for two years he had been way off the pace.  He also knew – long before the rest of us knew – that Ade was going to make it big, and that Wenger had found in Eduardo a player of extraordinary coolness and promise.

Barca needed Henry because the president Joan Laporta needed a dramatic move at that moment.  Barca had lost the league on the final day of the previous season to Real Madrid – the worst possible outcome.  Barca had been trying to sign Henry for years and had always assumed that Arsenal would need the money.  What they hadn’t reckoned with was the fact that most players would do anything for Wenger.

So the enquiry for Henry was made more in hope than expectation, and Barca were surprised when Henry was immediately made available.  Suspicious, Barca checked the health records and found the problem – the back injury was slowing down the pace, and without the pace Henry was losing it.   Nevertheless Laporta needed something to keep the fans happy – and so the deal was struck.   Henry was signed in the first week of the transfer window, but for a knock down price of £16.5m, with additional payments if Henry played a certain number of games, which could take the price up to over £22m   Just how knock down the initial price was can be seen by the fact that a few weeks later Tottenham Hotspur paid £16m for Darren Bent!!!

It may take a season or two, but the likely scenario is that Henry will retire rather than let himself slip down the league.  He’ll leave Barca to retire, and then join Arsenal. 

Of course he is not the first superhero to do this – one thinks at once of Liam Brady who also left Arsenal to play overseas – and who then finally return.  With Henry the return will be quicker – he will once again be a huge asset to the club.

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