Archive for June 23rd, 2007

Henry says he left because Wenger isn’t extending his contract

329 comments June 23rd, 2007

Well well well.  Despite the move not even being agreed yet, Thierry Henry has already given an interview to L’Equipe which will be published in France tomorrow morning.  And you, my unlucky readers, are the first people in England to get a glimpse.  Henry says:

I still have to pass a medical on Monday.  But yes, I have chosen Barcelona.  I am going to sign there for the next four seasons … for the football they play, their history, their stadium.  For Frank Rijkaard, who I grew up watching.

So vomit-inducingly sick happy for you Thierry.  And then the line that will send shivers down the spine of Arsenal fans everywhere:

The fact that Arsene Wenger is not prolonging his contract (which ends in summer 2008) was another very important element to take into consideration.

Oh great.  Stability ahoy.

Whether or not Henry is making excuses or divulging something hitherto private we can’t know.  I personally think Wenger does intend to stay for a good few years yet, in spite of reports like this.  But Wenger needs to make a statement on his future now.  I know it’s against his personal policy, but this club could collapse under all this uncertainty.

The article also contains a couple of short quotes from Arsene, simply stating nothing is signed but that the parties came to agreement last night.

Hm.  You have to laugh, don’t you.  Read this article.  Chirpier tone.

Anelka the man most likely to replace Henry

293 comments June 23rd, 2007

Son, thou art ever with me, and all that I have is thine. It was meet that we should make merry, and be glad: for this thy brother was dead, and is alive again; and was lost, and is found.

– (Luke 15:32, KJV)

Is it time for the prodigal son to return?  After the ashes of Henry’s move to Barcelona simmer out, will the man who deserted us for Real Madrid eight years ago be whom Arsene Wenger turns to in his most dire hour of need?  There is no hyperbole here.  Many were saying that this was Wenger’s most important summer in the transfer market to date, and that was before he decided to sell Henry.  And it has clearly been his decision – in the same way that Vieira’s comfort bubble was popped, Henry has had the red carpet pulled from underneath him.

What we desperately need now is pace and goals.  Not just upfront, to replace Henry, but wide on the flanks.  Anelka could be the first part of that.  Whoever it is we’ve chosen, you can be certain that we’ve been working at the deal for some time.  Henry’s £16m transfer will be completed on Monday: Arsenal had hoped Barca would keep schtum until we had the replacement lined up.  With Bolton already moving for Djibril Cissé, is it so inconceivable that we have already begun negotiating for Anelka?

We would all have reservations about seeing him in the red and white again.  But it might just bring about the humility he needs to be a truly great player.  One reason I think Anelka could be the man we need: when I heard United were linked with him, I was terrified about what he could do surrounded by good players.  That’s the kind of player we require to replace Henry.

Other names will be mentioned.  With a £13m release-clause, Obafemi Martins is a particularly attractive proposition.  I happen to think he could be a world beater under Wenger, who adores the kind of pace and power Martins possesses.  Fernando Torres is another name that will crop up, but I’ve never been consistently impressed by the Spaniard.  Michael Owen’s recent injury troubles make him a huge risk, even for £9m (how stupid are Newcastle’s negotiators by the way?), whilst I’m sure the likes of Adriano and David Trezeguet will also be thrown into Arsene’s big hat.

With the sales of Henry, Aliadiere, Muamba, and possibly Reyes added to any transfer budget we had in place, there is money to spend.  If we don’t want to dwindle into mid-table mediocrity, it must be spent wisely.

Ignore the taunts of other supporters today.  If Arsene gets this next bit right, it’ll be us whose gloating.

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