First things first, any story which claims Arsene’s future is uncertain because the board are willing to veto attempts to bring in Nicolas Anelka as Henry’s replacement is a load of shite.
We don’t really know if he is a target although the rumours do seem to have credibility. What we do know is that the board have allowed Arsene, in recent years, to dispense with Patrick Vieira and now Thierry Henry, something they’d be much more likely to veto than the return of Anelka. If Arsene wants Anelka the board will back him the same way they’ll back him if he wants Babel, Huntelaar, Tevez or any other of the million names out there. There is no ‘war’ in the boardroom and the bottom line is that Arsene makes all the football decisions.
In fact, any Anelka return would have been impossible had Dein been at the club because of the strained relationship between the former vice-Chairman and the Anelka family.
Secondly, talk of Arsenal’s dressing room being in ‘chaos’ because of Henry’s parting comments are, of course, ridiculous. The majority of the players are still on their summer holidays for a start.
Thierry is in Spain today, as I’m sure you all know already, and he’ll be presented to the fans after a medical which I’m sure he’ll pass with no problems. The press conference will take place in the Paris suite at the Camp Nou, named after Barcelona’s Champions League win last May. Did that bring your breakfast up?
Bob Wilson talks, very sensibly I think, about the situation and describes it as a ‘mini crisis’, which is reasonable enough. Have a listen (Real Player reqd).
I hope we’ll hear from Arsene at some point today and that will hopefully give us a better feel as to why this has all happened. Like everyone with any sense has pointed out – Arsene would not have sanctioned the sale of Thierry Henry if he didn’t want him to leave the club. He had three years on his contract and Arsenal had a strong hand. He obviously feels the time is right and I’m reminded of a bit in Tony Adams’ biography when he talks about Ian Wright and how reliant they were on him for goals. He felt it was to the detriment of the team and maybe Arsene thinks we are overly reliant on Thierry’s goals, especially after a fallow period this season when we struggled, as a team, to score.
Perhaps doing away with this reliance on one player to get your goals will allow other players to take on the burden a bit. How will Robin van Persie and Emmanuel Adebayor cope with the extra responsibility? They have to grow up some time and are now no longer in the shadows of a great striker but have the chance to become great strikers themselves. We’re most unlikely to find anyone to get us 30 goals in one season but if whoever we bring in gets 15, van Persie can easily get 15, Adebayor can get 15, the midfield can contribute more and in that way the absence of one player doesn’t affect the team as much as Thierry’s absence affected us when he was out.
Anyway, it’s going to be interesting to hear what the boss has to say. Some people might say this is the beginning of the end for Arsenal but to be honest I’m a little bit excited about the future. He has, more or less, dismantled the Invincibles side and this is now going to be his new project. The era of Bergkamp, Vieira, Pires and Henry is certainly over and it’s time now for this group to shake off the shackles and show what they’re made of. Add some decent signings to the mix and things could all look very different in a couple of weeks.
In other news Satan Kroenke has requested a meeting with Danny Fiszman, according to the Telegraph.
And that’s about all the other news there is which is no surprise as the Henry story still dominates. Are you going to watch Henry being presented as a Barcelona player? I’m not, simply because my overriding feeling in this whole thing is jealousy that he gets to enjoy the sunshine. I mean, how odd is that? Arsenal loses its greatest ever player and I’m most upset because he gets to go to the beach while I’m considering hiring someone to paint a sunny scene on my windows.
Now, if you’ll excuse me I have to go hire someone to paint a sunny scene on my windows.