On Sunday I saw the reports about Thierry Henry and the rumoured interest in him to be the next Arsenal manager, with bookies slashing the odds, seemingly overnight. I thought about writing about it yesterday as some sort of footnote, but didn’t bother because I thought it would be just one of the gutter press’ attempts to gain a few more clicks with a sensationalist headline and no real substance.
But then when I saw that multiple sites had carried the story, followed by the news of the odds-makers and their reduction in the odds for him as th next manager, I thought I would say a few words.
Firstly, I think it’s a complete non-story, and I suspect so too does the powers that be at Arsenal. Thierry is a club legend and we all love him, but even with his history and ties to the club, it would take the most optimistic of Arsenal fan to believe he could be the one to drive us on to bigger and better things. Big names in football rarely work out. Guardiola is an exception, Conte was a very good player, but for every example of a good/great player succeeding there are about ten that fall flat on their arses. Some have an initial success like Roy Keane, but when their reputation as a great player won’t have the team in awe of them, after a while the attraction of playing for that great player wears off. Then what is left is the real stuff a manager should deliver: motivation of team, tactical drive and invention, etc.
There’s also the fact that Thierry has hardly shown an aptitude for tactical nous when in the studio giving his opinions. I know that pundits probably hold back the full extent of their thoughts because they are on TV, but there’s been nothing there to suggest that he has something special he’s keeping from the viewers when I’ve watched him. So what would change if he was in charge?
He’s also got no experience whatsoever. Why on God’s green earth would a multi-million pound entity with a global fanbase and potential to be one of the biggest clubs in the world, want to take a gamble with a completely unknown person from a managerial perspective? We all know how incompetent this Arsenal board are, but even they aren’t at the levels it would take to leave an untested Thierry in charge, not least because they want to keep their pockets lined. This isn’t the 90s and we’re not pre-Abramovich Chelski hiring a fans favourite a-la Vialli. Not happening. Maybe if he went somewhere else and proved himself then it’d be something to consider, but not at the moment, and certainly not in the immediate post-Arsène Arsenal world. We blood young players on occasion, not young unproven manages. Go earn your stripes elsewhere Thierry, then in five years time, start banging down the Arsenal door. We need a proven man for now.
But with each day ticking along and with every minute leading us towards the end of this season, the pool of talent will become ever smaller, shrinking because Arsenal aren’t bold enough to force the managers hand to declare or fold. I believe that Arsène will sign. It’s the wrong thing to do but I think he will, so he should just do it now, so that there is clarity. But also on the off chance he isn’t signing, then he should be telling us so we can start the search. We can’t be picking around the mid table teams in England for a new manager because we sat on our hands for three months waiting for Arsène to make a decision. Act now Arsenal.
But anyway enough about the manager. How about we talk about Eddie Nketiah, eh? Who needs Mbappe when we have Eddie bashing in goal after goal at youth level. Heck, if we lose this weekend against City our top four hopes are gone, so we might as well start throwing these youngsters in on some games.
Nketiah scored a hat trick for England under-18s and he’s been tearing up the domestic league too apparently. Good on the lad. Of course that form doesn’t always translate to senior football, but at a time in which we have no idea who’ll be at the club by summer 2018, it’d be nice to imagine a young, home grown player coming through the ranks, especially in the sharp end of the pitch. Can’t even remember the last time that happened to any real success. Charlie George? I’m sure someone will enlighten me.
Anyway, I think I’ll call it a day for now, because there’s not really much else going on around Arsenal HQ by the looks of it. Cheerio for another day.