There’s no official word yet, but it seems certain that Arsenal legend Thierry Henry will back in north London in January with a loan move that will run until at least mid-February – long enough for him to star in the next round of Champions League games.
So what do you think? Is this another inspired move by Arsenal? A lifesaver that might kickstart their faltering season?
On the positive side Henry did make a significant difference last time round. He scored within ten minutes of coming on as sub against Leeds United and added a Premier League winner against Sunderland. He provided a welcome sideshow for the Gunners at a time when their key targets – the Premiership and Champions League - were disappearing from view.
Also Henry maybe a year older but he still seems very fit and he has also enjoyed an Indian Summer at the Bulls this year in scoring 15 times and providing 12 assists in 25 appearances.
However there is a world of difference between the MLS and the Premiership and I wonder if Henry’s return might not be so sweet this time round.
Arsenal are in dire straits. Since the departure of Robin Van Persie, they have looked very flaccid going forward Olivier Giroud’s goals have helped convince the fans that he is more than a makeweight for Nicholas Bendtner, but without him Arsenal seem to have few potent striking options. The situation will get worse in 2013 to with Gervinho off to the African Cup.
So Henry might find his services are required a great deal more than last time.
Secondly the fans humour is unlikely to be much improved if the Henry deal is done, but no new strikers – Huntelaar or Ba – appear at the Emirates. The fans were lead to believe by the club that the signings of Giroud and Podoslski were an attempt to strengthen the squad not just give it players who, while great in their own right, are clearly not in the same league as the talismanic Dutch striker.
Thirdly isn’t Henry’s arrival just going to be another distraction Sure his wealth of experience and winning attitide is sure to help inspire some of the Arsenal youngsters, but the team needs to massively focus on the premiership, and I believe the Capital One cup, and the presence of the Frenchman could prove to be a sideshow too far. Surely Wenger needs to be not signing the old Henry but finding the new one. I do worry that if things don’t go well Henry could become tainted by the general dis-satisfaction from the fans that is focusing on both Wenger and the board.
If he is coming, then I think Henry’s key role could come in the Champions League. Unlike Huntelaar he would be cleared to play and if thrown on with half an hour to go he could have a very real impact.
So what do you think. Is it great to have Henry back? Or should we relish the memory of last year and think about the future?