Ok, so the forums and blogs are rife with talk that former Arsenal footballer and club legend is on his way to Old Trafford via Barcelona, but how true is this rumour and would both sets of fans accept such a deal, considering the rivalry over the past ten seasons. Firstly, let me say that Thierry Henry is a fine footballer and the Premier League is a worse off place without the Frenchman. He combined excellent technical skill with sublime pace to brush aside opponents and score wonders goals season after season and rightfully so is considered alongside Liam Brady and Dennis Bergkamp as one of the best players to ever wear an Arsenal shirt. However, that legendary status could all change if this, quite amazing, move materialises and he makes the move to Old Trafford that would indeed anger the majority of the Arsenal faithful.
Henry has had a disappointing season at Camp Nou this term just gone. Played out of position on the left hand side of the front three and overshadowed by rookie Bojan, who by contrast had a great first season. Many fans always believe that the only way is down once you leave the club – however I do feel, considering the barriers that have been placed in front of Henry this season, that is unfair. As mentioned, Henry is a superb player who obviously adored playing alongside Dennis Bergkamp and become Arsenal’s top scorer of all time. Could he fit into Manchester United? Would he be a first team starter at the club? Remember how impressive Rooney and Tevez were last season – even though natural comedian Don Goodman objected to the partnership. Approaching 31 could he still hack it in the Premier League and would he benefit the side more so than Berbatov? Or is this transfer issue a publicity stunt in order to try and bring down the asking price of Berbatov, who may start to make noises if he believes his Old Trafford opportunity may have passed him by?
Manchester United totally dominated proceedings against Portsmouth yesterday; but failed to find the back of the net. I could feel the press box pencil’s being sharpened with the furious writing of the journo’s of the world stating ‘United in striker crisis’. But to be totally honest, was yesterday any different from the performances of last season in the early stages? Not until September 23rd 2007 did United find the net on two occasions in the same game. Chelsea were the victims that day in Avram Grants first game (which ironically consisted of the exact same opposition that featured in his last game). Many fans, pundits and ‘football experts’ were banging on about the fact that United needed an ‘out and out striker’ or a ‘target man’ failing to realise that Wayne Rooney had injured his foot, Ronaldo was suspended for head butting an opponent, Carlos Tevez and Owen Hargreaves were trying to get match fit after their moves from West Ham and Bayern Munich respectively and it was no surprise that United kept seven clean sheets from the 1-0 defeat to Citeh up to the 4-1 victory over Aston Villa – then the scoring started.
Many players move to other clubs and lose their legend status overnight. Paul Ince being the first name that springs to mind – ok he was never an Old Trafford legend but in the early 90’s he was a very good midfield player who’s hard play was a favourite alongside Robson and later Keane in the United midfield. He went to Liverpool and then celebrated like he’d won the treble when Liverpool salvaged a draw in spring 1999 – which would ensure his United hate status forever more. Denis Law moved to City (although to me is always going to be a legend), although just to correct anyone who believes that he sent us down – United had already been relegated and would be playing Division two football; with or without that goal. Arsenal fans may wish to comment on Sol Campbell’s move to them in the summer of 2001. Campbell proved to be a great servant to Arsenal, winning two league Championships and reaching (and scoring) the European Cup final. Were you happy to have Tottenham’s captain who was born and bred a Spurs man marshaling your back four? Of course the frustrated Spurs fans would have brought a smile to the face, but really can you ever really take to a rival player?
I for one would welcome the signing of Thierry Henry dependent on price. Guardiola has stated that he believes Henry is in his plans, but will Barcelona adopt a 4-4-2 formation that would favour the Frenchmen ahead of the 4-3-3 that has been instilled in the club since the playing days and eventual management of the football club by Johan Cruyff? Samuel Etoo’s future is also uncertain with a number of clubs not willing to ‘gamble’ on the Cameroon international, even though he is only just 27. Henry could still have a good career at Barcelona, but with Manchester United calling on the door could he really pass off the opportunity of playing with the likes of Rooney, Ronaldo and Scholes and help mature the talents of Anderson, Nani and Campbell? I remember another certain Frenchman had quite an influence over the younger players.
So is this going to materialise or is it all rubbish? Would you accept the deal (both United and Arsenal)?