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Arsene Won't Rule Out Henry

Arsene Wenger has refused to rule out the prospect of signing Thierry Henry for a 3rd spell at Arsenal. Henry spent eight successful years with the club between 1999 and 2007 before departing for Barcelona. But last January, with Marouane Chamakh and Gervinho packed off to the African Nations Cup, Wenger turned to Henry, who was available as his parent club New York Red Bulls were in their off season.

Henry scored a winning goal against Leeds in the F.A. Cup and a stoppage time winner at Sunderland last winter before heading back to the Big Apple. With Gervinho and Chamakh again expected to play in this January's African Nations and with Giroud and Wenger confirming that Henry has again been training at Arsenal, Arsene was in no mood to dampen speculation.

He has been practising with us," the Frenchman said. "Will I sign him again in January? I don`t know. I don`t rule it out. He is sharp.

"Last year I did it because we lost Gervinho. It was a good connection. This year we lose Gervinho again as they are playing in the Africa Cup of Nations two years in a row.

"So we will be confronted with a shortage. Particularly if Chamakh should go. I cannot stand in his way. Then we will be short."

'You know what he gives you. He gives you hope, especially when he comes on. That is the most important thing," he said.

"He is a communicator. An extrovert. Very intelligent. He can only give good advice to players because he was in their position when he arrived here.'

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The Journalist

Writer: Tim Stillman Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Wednesday November 21 2012

Time: 8:51AM

Your Comments

Sign him up. Why not? Nothing to lose. Turns out he was vital to our CL qualification last year. It might not work out that way again, but who knows. All the players were buzzing from having him around last year. I see no down-side.
To be honest, I think we’d need a striker even if Gervinho (not a CF) and Chamakh (not a single minute of league football this season) weren’t going. I’d like to see a longer term option myself. We need a striker. We have money. Lots of money. So let’s go and buy a ******** striker shall we? Other point is we only have room in the squad for 1 non homegrown player at the moment. We’d either have to sell to accommodate Henry plus A.Nother or else I suppose we could drop Chamakh or Squillaci from our squad list.
Little Dutch
Oh yes, we definately need a long term option also! I didn't figure the home-grown rule into this .... does it count for loan players?
Will be reserving judgment on this but if he's all we sign in Jan then it's clearest message yet that we only do things on the cheap and genuinely don't want to challenge for pots, this season or the next. It'll be a shambles if he's all we get, and if we haggle for the first few weeks as well like last year.
It does count, we had to drop Almunia out of our CL squad to accommodate TH last year. I'm with shewore on this. If it happens and nobody else comes, it's more make do and mend. Sellotaping your shoes back together instead of just going out and buying a new pair.
Little Dutch
Wouldn't be surprised if Henry is all we do sign as I guess Wenger won't want to 'kill' Joel Campbell when he arrives next season.
What are we allowed - 17 non-homegrown over 21 in 25 man squad? I count that leaves us with two places but there are a couple we could de-list.The club always seems to have their eye open for an opportunity but whether that comes up in January or not is hard for anyone outside the club (or even inside in many cases) to call. If not its more likely to be a sign of the players wanted/needed not being available at the time than any lack of ambition. Henry would be good to have in the squad though it's a bit much to expect him to keep repeating the heroics. We've got a few strikers out on loan, Afobe, Wellington and Campbell (and Bendtner!). Are they any more of a gamble than anyone else that City, Chavs, PSG, Barca, Real don't really want?
Whilst that's all true, we went into this season with one real striker. Signing Henry would show what? That he really expected Chamackh to kick on? He hasn't even given him a chance. I don't understand it.
What's a real striker (Torres or Andy Carroll?) and when did we ever sign one? I'd guess Giroud is one of the few players Wenger has ever bought largely for his goal tally. Most have been forwards who started to score goals when they joined us. I'd guess he expected between Giroud, Podolski, Gervinho and Walcott we weren't entirely without goalscoring capability until/unless something better becomes available whenever that might be.
We’ve certainly shared the responsibility better this year (no one player has more than 4 of our 23 in the league this year- Giroud, Podolski and Cazorla have 4, Gervinho and Walcott 3). Particularly on Saturday there were pleasing signs of understanding, position swapping etc. But without Giroud we’re worryingly light of a genuine spearhead. The Gervinho experiment was by default only in my opinion. Essentially Chamakh is our second choice in the centre of that front 4 and I find it very difficult to believe we can’t find better than that. Not every striker available need be another Torres or Carroll. I rate Arsene’s eye to find better (and cheaper!) than that.
Little Dutch
Yes Torres and Carrol are players that play in that position of "striker", i.e. the one that Giroud occupies at the moment, those names you've mentioned in our team aren't capable of leading the line. As L Dutch above says, I trust Arsene's eye not to spend 50m on one - i'm sure you would as well.
For a long time there was a strong body of opinion that, when he was fit, RvP wasn't a proper striker. Henry's strength wasn't his ability to hold the ball up in the box and for some time he himself was an advocate of a need for a 'fox in the box' type player. Bergkamp didn't fit the proper striker mould. Even Adebayor didn't come to us as a conventional striker, modelling himself as he did (in his mind at least) on the equally 'not a proper striker' style of Kanu. Chamakh and Giroud are a bit of a departure for us from the style of forwards Wenger has usually gone for. For that reason I'm not sure the Gervinho experiment has yet run its course or that we wouldn't bring in a player of a similar style.
Bringing in a player of similar style is all gravy with me, whatever, but we have a number shortage in that position unless Chamakh really is a viable option. Wenger himself clearly doesn't think that he is.
Little Dutch
Apart from Chamakh who'll only start League Cup games, Podolski and Walcott both think they should be leading the line and we've tried, and will probably continue to try, Gervinho there so it's questionable whether we're really short of numbers. What would we do out wide if Podolski or Walcott moved into the centre? I'd guess Arshavin, Ox or if fit Rosicky would be ones to plug the gaps. We've always room for more quality (in almost any position) but don't need to buy just to make up the numbers.
But that's exactly it, if we do move Walcott or Podolski into the centre (I don't think we should), then that leaves one of the wide positions free. Especially as Arshavin isn't trusted either. My personal opinion is that Poldi and Theo should stay out wide as a starting position, ditto Gervinho. What Poldi and Theo think shouldn't really be the consideration. We need someone else capable of playing CF.
Little Dutch
We absolutely need someone else that can play striker in Giroud's role, why would you wanna move Podolski or Theo into roles that don't make the most of their strengths? And then free up space on the sides for other players he doesn't trust
Surely the decisions are independent? TH would be brought in to fill a short-term gap, any new striker (assuming we need one - do we?) would be bought for the long term. Assuming the reasonably priced but top quality striker which everyone counts on AW to be able to spot is available in this transfer window. If TH can handle the PL physically and we've got the space in our list, then as Rocky7 says, I see no downside.
Fungunner, why do they have to be reasonably priced?
@ shewore - why not reasonably priced? Does it have to be a silly price?
Podolski and Theo think we aren't playing them to their strengths at the moment but my point is that we've rarely played with a Giroud/Chamakh target man style CF (if that's what he is/they are) so I'm not sure it's that essential that we have another one now. I suspect that what we're looking for is, like his counterparts the giant no nonsense centre back and ball winning midfield destroyer, a 20-30 goal a season man. We've hardly ever gone out and bought those though we've definitely made a few. It really depends on what the development strategy is. We're looking to shift Bendtner and Chamakh now and we've got some young strikers out on loan. Unless we can find someone that Juve couldn't find (hence loaning Bendtner) or Manu couldn't find (hence buying RvP) and we're not after someone City and Chavs want (Falcao) we're best keeping our powder dry for the time being.
Amos, I was about to add exactly what you said in your first sentence. The team has had to learn to play to OG's strengths, suggesting that we wouldn't be lost without him or somebody similar. I love what he brings to the side, but you have to be as good as he is at it and have all his movement and linking play for it to work for Arsenal.
I think you're slightly off track with your thinking there, Wenger didn't sign Giroud and think "****, he's more of a target man! Sh1t gon change" he signed Giroud to play where he does, and he signed Podolski to play where he does "he's played 100 games for Germany and none through the middle", so whether they think they're being utilsed correctly isn't important. I'm sure Santos thinks he should be a forward as well, don't make a blind bit of difference. Re Reasonably priced, I think rigidly sticking to this mantra has cost us talent in the past, and hate the thought of us being so conservative sprinkling our buys and hoping for the best instead of signing someone we need for the here and now
You could usually expect Wenger to sign players because they're adaptable and flexible enough to play in more than one position. Podolski played as a striker at Cologne as I'm told though much as RvP for Holland he'd play wide for his country. I don't think in Giroud's case or Chamakh's that he saw either of them as quite as adaptable as his usual signings which is why I make the point that they're not typical so the prospects of signing more of the same is probably less likely than converting another Gervinho type to a 'proper' striker. If someone we need for the here and now is available then we should buy him - but there's a good chance they might not be available here and now.
It's a fair point, but he's clearly made a conscious decision to sign Giroud as first choice, and by definition, the way we play.
@ shewore - it's only the way we play *with OG*. On price etc I think we may be talking at cross purposes here. "reasonably priced" to me = value for money. Giroud was reasonably priced, Cazorla was cheap, Cahill would have been overpriced. I used the phrase in the first place because people's mantra is "I'm not asking Wenger to spend silly money". He isn't rigid about what he pays - he just wants value and won't get into bidding wars he cannot win. Don't forget £18m bid for Jones (I think it was) and £20m for Reina. He is willing to shell out large amounts if the individual is worth it and/or our need is desperate.
“I think Podolski will play more central for us”, Wenger told Tsinghua University students in China on Thursday (26th July. “Giroud is a different target man who would be more the player in a 4-4-2, he knocks the ball down, protects the ball well, makes play for his partners, and is a very intelligent player who has great physique, as well as being very strong in the air.”
I'm not sure I can remember anyone saying we need a big strapping target man in particular? An Eduardo / Davor Suker type would do me. Whichever way we slice it, we need another central striker or somebody that can play there. (Like I said, in my opinion, I wouldn't put any of Podolski, Theo or Gervinho there, I think all are better off starting from wide).
Little Dutch
No-one did say we specifically needed a big strapping target man but there was a suggestion that only Giroud and Chamakh were 'real' or 'proper' strikers hence the confusion. Strikers come in all shapes and sizes and we've tended mould them from what, at some point, might have seemed unlikely prospects. Looking around you'd suspect we'd have to do that again.
Reading through Wenger's comments on the great man, I infer that he is more interested in what Henry will bring to the dressing room than on-field goal contribution. "He is a communicator. An extrovert. Very intelligent. He can only give good advice to players because he was in their position when he arrived here.' In one breath, he has suggested Chamakh may leave and that we would be short of strikers when that happens; the fact that he suggests that Henry can be considered reads to me like he already had his heart set on a long term acquisition for the role. The manager will be cautious not to say things to affect the confidence of his players and reduce re-sale value, but I feel he would want Chamakh gone to free up space.
As for Henry, as a short term measure, last time out, I know I wasn't all for it; with his contributions, it was almost 'egg in the face' stuff for me, even if I objected only because I feared he will do his status more harm than good. Well, What do I know, eh? This time around, I will toe Rocky's line and ask, "What's there to lose"? There can't be any down side to it, as I feel we will look to get a permanent solution, if we find a suitable player in the window. If Wenger does not acquire a new striker, it can only be that none suited to our game was found, or he trusts in the players he has in the side to do the business.
And that'd be fine, so long as it gets done. Giroud and Chamkh are our only recognised strikers in my book. Put it this way, in our current first choice XI, Chamakh is the only one pressuring Giroud's place because Poldi and Walcott / Gervinho are already in the team in other positions. That our only two CFs are target man types is simply coincidence. But whichever way it's sliced, we're definitely short up there. Especially because the manager hasn't entrusted Chamakh with a single minute in the League or CL, so he obviously doesn't consider him much of an option.
Little Dutch
"I don't find many players who don't want to play centrally," Wenger said, with a smile. "Podolski has 101 caps for Germany and 101 on the left. I brought him with the idea that, when needed, he would play through the middle. I like the idea but we will use him where he is useful for the team."
Enjoy the game, those who are going.
I'd agree that Giroud and Chamakh are our only recognised CF's but not our only recognised strikers. Both are more limited to a central traditional target man position than previous leading strikers Henry and RvP. Chamakh isn't the only striker pressuring Giroud because the greater pressure comes from whether we play with a more traditional CF or not. For most of our time under Wenger we haven't.
Most of the time under Wenger we haven't, but this season (i.e. post signing Giroud) we have, it's clearly what he has in mind and as last night demonstrated, looking pretty healthy. Giroud is getting better and better in my view. Not exactly tikka takka but it was effective.
Up until Gervinho's injury we'd played Gervinho/Podolski up front and central(ish) a tad more frequently than we'd used Giroud there. Gervinho's return was as a replacement for Giroud. I agree Giroud is doing well for us at the moment and the more playing time he gets the less predictable he will be. The issue was whether we only had one striker but it's clear from the tactics we've employed this season, Wengers comments and the fact that Giroud was replaced late in the game with Gervinho that we aren't restricted to playing only with a choice of Giroud or Chamakh up front. We have other options which don't rely too much on bouncing the ball off a target man - effective though that might sometimes be - but we have a pick of at least three other strikers and other options playing wide. If a better quality striker or wide player or any other position in the squad becomes available we should take it but we're not short on numbers. The fact that we don't see Gervinho or Podolski as 'proper' strikers, though both are more inside than centre forwards much like Bergkamp, Henry or RvP, isn't different from the way we had seen those players at some point.
Yeah we had, but i think Wenger was protecting him slightly, i'm pretty convinced that this style of play with Giroud leading the front 3 is Arsene's game plan this year, I think playing Gervinho up there was a bit of an experiment
Possibly but I don't think Wenger is completely happy with the forward/midfield balance so I doubt that the experimentation has ended yet. When we play with Podolski/Giroud/Walcott we're effectively playing with 3 strikers and our midfield play looks less fluent than we're used to seeing. Bring in Gervinho or to a lesser extent (due to inexperience) Oxlade-Chamberlain and fluency improves a touch. The advantage of strikers like Bergkamp, Henry and RvP is that they could play midfield. I don't think Podolski, Giroud or Walcott have those capabilities. Gervinho does to a degree. If we need another striker it probably shouldn't be a centre forward.
We're short of numbers up front. If there was an injury to 2-3 of our main players (Giroud, Poldi & Theo at the same time, and knowing our injury record, quite likely), there are replacements for only 2 of them (perhaps, Arshavin & Ox). This was the case even before the ANC, but with Gervinho off, it's more important to reinforce. And I'd rather Wenger make a signing for the long term, rather than sign Henry on loan.

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