Big news just one and a half day before the transfer window reopens. According to Matt Law of the Daily Express, Thierry Henry has agreed to a 2 month loan deal with Arsenal. The number 12 is on the offing and the record club goalscorer will once again put on the famous read and white jersey.
At the moment, my opinion on this matter remains the same. Take the Henry sentiment out of the context, this is still signing a 34 year old who played his last 2 seasons in the MLS. I don’t think he’ll be a starter, that role has to go to Park Ju Young. Henry would be someone whom we can look to as a substitute to bring on when we need that extra man in attack.
Perhaps his biggest influence will be off the pitch. He’s experienced enough to know what is required of the team through different periods of the season. A guide to the young players during training and sharing some tips to them. To be able to lift the team and encourage them. To be the captain that he wasn’t quite able to fulfil when he was actually one.
Let’s not forget the financial implications. On £70k a week salary, if we take up the full amount, it will eat a big chunk out of the wage limit. However we Gooners are a nostalgic lot. Seats have not been filled completely this season but expect many more who would want to go to matches just to see Henry. The sales of jerseys should also increase.
That said, the increase of personnel should not end there. We still have one/two misfiring forward whom at this form and confidence, is not one which we can be depending on. Signing Henry on loan does not change that we still need a backup to Robin Van Persie beyond March.
Among the positions likely to be filled, full back will not be one of the positions that Arsene Wenger’s will be looking to fill. Even though Bacary Sagna and Kieran Gibbs will only be back by late January. I’m not sure here. On one hand I understand that any new recruits will then have to fight it out with 4 full backs when everyone gets back fully fit. But that in itself is the real problem. Can someone like Gibbs with his injury record be depended to last an entire season?
On this I will have to err on the side of caution. With Andre Santos out for large parts of remaining season, we are contemplating putting our best centre back on the left for the rest of the campaign. Unless we can promote from within, I fear we may have to dip into the market for one. We have a healthy squad of centrehalves but there’s no telling how long that can last.
There’s also no place for new recruits in the centre of midfield or specifically, the creative role as Wenger also refutes claims of interest in Yoann Gourcuff. The trio of Alex Song, Aaron Ramsey and Mikel Arteta has been the stalwarts in midfield thus far. Then we also have the industrious (albeit on less viewing) creative talents of Tomas Rosicky and Yossi Benayoun waiting on the sidelines.
That would suggest we have reasonable cover in that department and we don’t need the extra cover. I’m not even including Jack Wilshere and Abou Diaby in this equation. Both are recovering and with contradictory update reports, I’ll be happy to even see them playing again any time this season.
Plus Gourcuff has been in indifferent form since his move from Bordeaux to Lyon. Some are suggesting that a move for him would reinvigorate Chamakh as the duo had a good partnership at Bordeaux. If only things are that simple. No doubting Gourcuff’s talent nor his ability to rise above his current poor form but he’s simply not one for us now.
There’s a match tomorrow and we really need to get back to winning ways after the 2 dropped points against Wolves. Let’s hope Henry’s presence provides that bit of boost that the squad needs.