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Nik's Knack - Could He Come Back?

On Saturday morning, following a beer-fuelled Arsenal debate with a couple of buddies the previous night, which was re-visited prior to the Manchester derby kicking off, one's good self posted to the forum a piece regarding a topic that has been a popular topic of conversation for gooners of late, that of signings during the close season.

Do we need any? What position? Who's on their way out? How much do we have to spend?

This of course has become interlinked with the potential takeover by 'Silent' Stan, as he has become christened. The amount we'll have to spend...

I've been a firm believer that we do not require any strengthening in terms of the squad. At least not majorly. We have the required players, the talent is there. For me it was more a case of application of the talent that the team have, which is there for all to see, and that surely with a little more luck on the injury front we would see the team challenge the following season for the premiership title. Take any of the other teams, and remove their top 2 goal-scoring threats and you would see a serious dent in their aspirations to silverware.

But alcohol can be a source of disaster, but also a gateway to the promised land of previously-unforeseen insight.

During several pints of Guinness on the Friday with a group of folks in canary wharf, including my mates Kev (a west ham fan) and Ed (fellow gooner), it slowly dawned on me that there was a blindingly delicious prospect for The Arsenal, which concerned the signing of a striker, one of the popular musings on the Vital Arsenal forums.

There have been callings for Eto'o to be signed from Barça, for all efforts to be made to secure Tevez from West Ham / MSI (whoever really owns the fellow...). But in my beer haze, it dawned on me that taking into account all the factors we face this summer - transfer budget, someone who's be able to adapt to life in the prem, and in England, someone who could deliver the goals we need - one name suddenly shone brighter than all others, and it was a name i hadn't expected, and that i didnt expect fellow gooners to be too warm towards either. The fellow's name is Abdul-Salam Bilal. You may be more familiar with him as Nicolas Anelka.

Here's why...

As we know, Arsene, for the past few seasons, has been none too keen of signing players who you would consider to be one of those 'experienced heads' that some folk say we need. Nicolas Anelka is only just 28 (having turned so in march), so that would be the right side of 30 then. That golden figure that would seem to be part of Le Boss' prerequisite for a signing, of late.

Following the departure of Fat Sam from their club, he would be available i reckon for... hmm, what, let's say £7m? Which i reckon would be a pretty good price... I think that the departure of their gaffer will weaken them as a club, in terms of their resolve and hold on players. Change at the top can breed disruption and disquiet. What with the upheaval at the reebok, their thoughts may be less inclined to hold on to their players, and fat Sam, before his departure, spoke of Anelka being allowed to go for a top fee. I think he could be secured for less than that.

Anelka now speaks of how he thinks highly of arsenal. Having spent a few years playing his way around various clubs, who knows - maybe Anelka now reflects more favourably on what he had, and subsequently gave up, at Arsenal. Quotes attributed to him in recent months speak of him considering Arsenal quite a lot in his thoughts.

On top of that,Wenger speaks of Anelka leaving as his one biggest regret in management. It would seem that Arsene viewed the guy as the one he could mold into the most fearsome striker in the footballing world. We had seen glimpses of what he was posed to offer at Arsenal before various elements turned his head toward Spain. Perhaps this would be the one player so far that Arsene would re-sign for Arsenal.

And could you imagine a forward line of Anelka, rvp and ade? it would have pace power and goals a-plenty. Anelka would be that direct line toward goal. he was always that player that would arrow toward the centre of the penalty area with one thought in mind... but hold up - 'wot no Henry?' i hear you cry! that's because...

(and at this point i accredit Ed for this part, for it were he who dropped this little gem into the mix, which dovetailed beautifully with my thoughts on Anelka... ) TH14 takes up residence out on the left wing.

Think about it.

There's been a fair bit of musings on Titi moving into a more withdrawn Bergkamp style role as his pace (may) diminish, as he certainly has the intelligence to play it. Who's to say he could not move to the wing to adopt a Bobby Pires style role?

Were he to move to play a wide role, it would take him away from the buffetings he would receive centrally, yet still allow him the freedom to cut in, unleash a shot, dribble into the area, send the ball across the middle to a waiting colleague.

He's got the nous to know when to play a ball, when to hold onto it, and the talent to beat a man with nonchalance, what's more, he himself has spoken many times in the past of the merits of setting up a colleague being just as important as scoring himself.

As we all know, when Henry arrived at the club, he was a winger, who Wenger converted into a striker (his original position at Monaco). Could he, in the latter stages of his career, go back to the wing?

With Anelka in the mix, we'd have one of the most lethally direct strikers in football, who we know is acclimatised to the prem. can you imagine what a front 2 of Ade/Rvp/Anelka, with Henry on the left wing, would do to teams? it would tear them to shreds... Plus, with Anelka now being older and wiser means that he would not be 'le sulk' that we all knew before... for me, it's certainly a tantalising prospect.

Article submitted by Wingston75

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The Journalist

Writer: Rocky7 Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Wednesday May 9 2007

Time: 12:11PM

Your Comments (oldest first)

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Excellent article Wingers, with some great points. However I'd just like to add that in particular the article title and subheading are particularly witty and well thought out.
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09/05/2007 12:27:00

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09/05/2007 12:28:00

Yeah... that wud be great.. but I'm not so sure on the Henry thing.. I feel that Rvp can play out on the left.. if you remember he did play there against Man Utd away this yr.. but I feel its highly unlikely that Wenger wud buy Anelka considering Bendtner is coming back.. I feel that we need 1 out and out winger.. I mean we desperately need one for more width.
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09/05/2007 12:28:00

We would have pace power skill height everythin. And i think Anelka has the ability to be the beast of the prem (unlike baptista) i never thought i would be saying that all those years ago. But saying that i loved him as a player before but if he has sorted out his attitude fair play he could be the player wayne rooney could be if he sorted out his attitude as well. Also he has never been the player that he was at Arsenal
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09/05/2007 12:33:00

well we will see!! i would like to see anelka back at arsenal he is the missing link and the natural goal scorer
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09/05/2007 12:33:00

Henry on the left wing? Brilliant idea. Stick to FM or Pro Evo. Please never write an article on this site ever again.
Lex touched me.
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09/05/2007 12:37:00

ar4eva I think u are right that we desperately do need a wide player cause we are startin to loose our width. But i think we also need some experience but at the same time with bendtner coming back u dont know what will happen i would like to see him do well next year thou after the crackin season he has had in the championship
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09/05/2007 12:37:00

LTM, or whatever your , it's a real shame intelligence or wit never touched you as well. Still i'm sure that the catholic priest that did more than made up for you. »»Arsene Knows««
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09/05/2007 12:43:00

I think you better get back on the guiness & try again. Have Anelka back, not a chance in hell do I want see that guy ever darken our stadium again, especially with those muppets still pulling his strings.
Ashburton Gooner
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09/05/2007 12:47:00

AG, i do not think that his brothers are his advisers any more... »»Arsene Knows««
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09/05/2007 12:49:00

If they see money signs they will soon be back. I don't think either of them are official agents but you can bet your life they are behind his moves. I just couldn't ever accept him back after what he done to arsenal the first time around, threatening strike action & all. He stuffed up his own life (with the help of his brothers) & yet he still accepts no responsibility, last I heard he was blaming Houllier for all his problems.
Ashburton Gooner
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09/05/2007 13:01:00

Nice one Wingston - excellent article, and food for thought. As AG rightly asks though, are those 'muppets' still pulling his strings? I took it for read from the forums that he's dropped his brother agents. That's an important point, and the other one is about Henry on the wing: although not in keeping with how he's played for us, it may be an interesting move, because it means he won't feel he has to carry the whole team (and be sole centre of attention anymore), so will play better, as happened when Bergkamp, Viera etc played with him. Being out wide won't stop him cutting in (like the goal against Blackburn - a one-two with Fab on the edge of the box). More interestingly though making a change like this might just shake things up a little bit. I know the article is about 'Nik' but the setup proposed might just work whatever centre-forward is used (eg. RvP, Tevez, Johnson etc etc). I'm going to trust Arsene on this one - he wouldnt resign Anelka under the wrong circumstances - of that I'm sure.
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09/05/2007 13:06:00

Great article Wingers. It's a fantastic prospect, it really is. The problem is that he hasb't really changed his attitude at all, he's just not as good as he once was. When he was at Fenebache he said something along the lines of "I'm fed up here, I'm leaving." Every player is entitled to think that but there's no need to go to a newspaper and say it. He has said that he only see's Bolton as a stepping stone, the same thing applies to that. He is too outspoken, too selfish and he's nothing but trouble. It's a crying shame, he could have been such a legend for us. I hope he regrets leaving us for the rest of his days!
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09/05/2007 13:16:00

there will only be one nick playing for us next season and his surname is bendtner.
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09/05/2007 13:24:00

wingston, excellent article, wouldn't worry about the tit LTM. i do enjoy reading what yo have to say, you always like t bring good arguments and discussions to the table and this one has left me pondering, without dismissing the idea straight out. wenger never goes back on himself, and when he sold lauren this year he said because he had 2 young RB in that position and it would hinder their progress. we have bendter, rvp, thierry and Adebayor, also Theo is being moulded into an anelka type of forward too. whislt I do agree anelka is experienced an would give us a good dimension it maybe at a cost to our younger squad, and from what i have seen of Nik, he seems to raise his game when he can be bothered and not consistently. i think our squad needs consistent performances, which we have had few of this season, and possibly we need someone who is hungry for success and not someone who is here for the money, champions league and a short lived option. if he did come back, like for £5m i would consider that good business and gives us cover, but i wouldn't be thinking as a first 11. having said all that, well done wingston mate, great article to read whislt munching my lunchtime banana !
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09/05/2007 13:28:00

Dude, you're miles behind. I did a piece in the gooner about this, definitely we should sign him back. He's exactly what we need, Freddie is the only player that remains from his last tenure, Lehmann, Henry and Gallas can be fellow grumpy gits in arms and Dein isn't around anymore. I think AW would have him back in a second, unfinished business and all, and Anelka would deffo work with AW again. If he were to resign I think that would amount to an apology and an acknowledgement of his wrongdoing first time around. He'd be my number 1 target this summer.
Little Dutch
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09/05/2007 13:30:00

PG - i'm not worried about what a fu©ktard like that thinks, because they really don't have anything worth saying, so just spout crud. I just fancied abusing him. :-) but i know what you mean, the odds arestacked against irt happening, Le Boss never seems to re-tread old ground with ex-arse players. Glad you liked the piece, fella, and thanks! And LD, if I'd known about your article, who knows, i might have referenced it - :P. Anyways dude, delicious prospect, wouldnt you say? I have the feeling if he came back, he'd play out of his skin, time is now ticking on his career, and if he wants to create a legacy of his career, he's running out of time... not sure it will ever happen, but stranger things have happened. »»Arsene Knows««
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09/05/2007 13:38:00

Wenger's had the chance to resign him before & didn't take it. There is a reason for that & it wasn't money.
Ashburton Gooner
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09/05/2007 14:03:00

Didnt he jus stop playing for you bcoz he felt like it? sure he's good but after he did that you want him back?
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09/05/2007 14:04:00

LTM, are you trying to emulate the class that ooyes from Vital Chavski? If you disagree, write your points, don't be a tit.
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09/05/2007 14:05:00

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09/05/2007 14:06:00

JCFC, he did, he had dreams of real madrid (heard that before) grass is greener, etc. Turned out that for him it wasnt. Ever since he has spent 2 years at a club then moved around again. You can never get the best out of your game doing that. I am pretty sure there are many who would rather never touch him again with a bargepole, but it's nothing to the completely odious nature of a certain left back. That's one player i woudl NEVER want to wear an arsenal shirt again, not even in a testimonial match. »»Arsene Knows««
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09/05/2007 14:18:00

firstly, I have reservations about the t**t that Nic Anelka is. I really do not care what he is saying now, and I believe that it should not be considered as an argument that he would settle and play his heart out for us. He has never played his heart out for anyone apart from his wallet. Real Madrid, Feerbahce, Liveprool, Man City, Bolton, (I probably missed a few) all got glimpses of the super player he could have been. He was and still is one of the deadliest strikers in one on one situations against defenders but his attitude stinks and his he has never been consistent. Yes, AW may still be talking about him but I see this more as a way of feeling sorry for this ill-advised boy rather than regret that he slipped away. And moving Titi to the wing in order to accommodate the whining French cousin of Ca$hl€y is primarily insulting and secondly, risky. I agree that TH would be more effective in years to come playing in the Bergkamp Role, but please... not the wing. So spending 7 odd mil on him would be a bit too much. Pay double for Tevez, or little less for Huntelaar or perhaps even Darren Bent could be a good investment. An experienced Crespo-type of a player could also do the job. Remember Davor Suker?
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09/05/2007 14:19:00

Actually thinkin about the downside of things i wold rather not have him here. We cant be doing with a player with such a big ego now that DD has gone it will just make things more hectick. I am well up for us going in for tevez or maybe even messi with all that is going on at barca u neva kno what could happen there. JCFC i think he did just get up oneday and decide he didnt want to play for them anymore it. Or maybe we will go more for a player like joaquin i wouldnt mind seein him in arsenal colours and have u heard the news about Ribery as well and you know how much him and Thierry get on who knows.........
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09/05/2007 14:27:00

the article has some good points, only thing i would change is having henry up front drifting left, anekla up front, van p playing from the right - bench hleb
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09/05/2007 14:31:00

ah Frank Ribery. If someone else in the EPL gets him it will be a sad day for me.
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09/05/2007 14:36:00

i agree G4L, if there is one player i want its ribery, more of a player than pires and he is wide and has goals, we always win well with wide players !
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09/05/2007 14:42:00

I don't think Anelka's ego is a problem. Firstly, I happen to think we could use a few egoes in the dressing room. Secondly, for Anelka to come back would be a giant climbdown for him, it would be an act of contrition, admitting he was wrong. I think he realises his mistake and would allw Wenger to mould him into the world class player he should have been. I mean, like I said, it's not as though Lehmann, Henry and Gallas are Tinky Winky, Dipsy and la la in terms of spreading the joy is it?
Little Dutch
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09/05/2007 14:49:00

He left when he was very young on the back of some very poor advice from his money grabbing brothers. If its a possiblity we should take the chance, its not as if the fee would through the roof and the fear of an Anelka, Henry, RVP, Ade front 4 would be immense.
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09/05/2007 15:04:00

Good article, Wingers. I'm being influenced slowly now by this article and what LD had suggested in the forum earlier :). My ONLY concern is his attitude, but didnt we say that abt Eboue as well, and it looks like Wenger is fixing that. So there is no reason why Anelka cant work now. Wenger has done this before with Henry who was known as someon with promise but not a super star. But I dont know how Henry would react if he was moved into the wing. Would he feel he was shunted out wide, coz I think he has a bit of an ego !!
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09/05/2007 15:14:00

Was having self same discussion recently I think he would do well for use, & more than likely stay beyond the 18 months currently he manages per club. He is a class act. Has he been involved in any outlandish words/behavior at Bolton...don't think so. Also think Berbatov would shine at our place. Shame Spuddies look like they've got Wafa cup again, he might've been offski otherwise!
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09/05/2007 15:52:00

Ribery is an average player boosted by an over inflated ego. Don't buy it.
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09/05/2007 16:22:00

i want anelka!
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09/05/2007 16:28:00

LD, exactly what do you know about such things as the teletubbies !!! i only know cos of my kids, but i wouldn't of admitted that on a public forum... oh shi1t i just did !!!!
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09/05/2007 16:43:00

is there anyway we can make Le Boss read this article? if he can sort himself out, i'd really have him back. and he also seems hungry now to play football at the topmost level and win trophies and that desire can make him give his heart out for the team. but just one more thing, there is no way i'll have Le God on the wing, let him come back next season, he'll be better than ever before, he'll be better and faster, and we'll see the best of him for the next three years. this summer is gonna be entertaining in terms of transfers, and i just wish that Arsene has Nic in his thoughts..
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09/05/2007 17:03:00

Luckys i certainly hope this summer IS entertaining in transfers, because Im worried about Arsene getting pulled from pillar to post with backroom stuff! On the Anelka front, I think whether AW brings him in or not (if he is available of course), it will be whatever is right for the team. His first-hand experience of him, puts him in the best position to judge. Out of all the other names in the comments above, the 'beastly' Tevez sounds good too.
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09/05/2007 17:25:00

nah Andy Tevez won't fit into our game, i'd prefer Baptista over him, and you're right bout Nic, Arsene knows him better than anyone, but he fits the bill perfectly, he is tailor made for our passing game, and having him, Le God and RVP playing together will be something special. lets see what happens. but personally what do you think, will Arsene consider him in the summer?
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09/05/2007 17:32:00

You see lucky, I'm not so sure that somebody has to 'fit' so much into our game, as complement the fine passing machine we already have, and i believe Tevez actually does that. But coming back to Anelka, it's really hard to know isn't it? There are signals out there, like Arsene's regret at having lost him to start with, as well as Anelka's recent comments about liking us. There is unrest at Bolton this summer just as there is here at the Grove, and god only knows what circumstances that might create. I think that for Wenger there is one decisive element above all else - Nic's attitude. I don't think that Arsene would take him back unless he knows that something has changed on that front, so he will know by checking out his behaviour over recent months, and looking into the current level of influence, the Anelka brothers might still have. This will allow AW to make an educated decision, and it will be the right one. I always worry that with our own backroom things to sort out, whether Arsene will be able to have a clear head to make these calls, and I hope the board bear that in mind and give maximum "Anything you need Arsene!" support because he'll need it.
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09/05/2007 17:50:00

yeah the board should be firmly behind him. personally i'd love to see Double D back even if it that means a takeover. once he is back,
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09/05/2007 18:07:00

yeah the board should be firmly behind him. personally i'd love to see Double D back even if it that means a takeover. once he is back, Arsene wouldn't have to worry bout too many things other than the team. but anyways more than signing any player this season, lets sign Arsene on a long term contract. that will be our biggest signing of the summer. i'd take that over signing any player in the world..
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09/05/2007 18:09:00

Although I'm against takeovers luckys, I think that you are probably right - Arsene would be our top signing. I really hope it happens.
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09/05/2007 18:29:00

yeah it could work,it would def. make us more formidable in front of goal
fran merida
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09/05/2007 19:36:00

The squad doesn't need any major surgery, just less surgeries...I think Babel would be the perfect Wenger signing...he can play on either wing and also provide an additional striking option...If we are to play 4-5-1 next season he would be the perfect outlet out wide
Anon 1
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09/05/2007 20:33:00

i'll have david bently instead
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09/05/2007 22:29:00

Anelka would be a great asset to us, say on a 4 yr deal which would still leave some market value after a year or two if it doesn't work out, and 3-4 yrs of pace, power and goals if it does. I hope AW at least considers it. As far as Henry is concerned, and RVP and Ade too come to that, 2 or 3 strikers form 4 (or 5 if you add Bendtner) is not too many for a 60 -70 game season. I think every top class Prem player accepts that. Both RVP and Henry can play wide, as can Anelka. He'd be a great fit. I can forgive the rash actions of an 18 yr old getting bad advice. This time, he'd be his own man, and it would also greatly enhance his National team chances too. I think he'd be up for it. In fact the only down side I see is whether or not he's lethal enough in front of goal. But better service would mean more chances, hence goals.
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10/05/2007 00:19:00

However an asset, Anelka is a sellout
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10/05/2007 10:08:00

Get Anelka back, his song is already here: Radiohead - Sulk
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10/05/2007 10:51:00

Oh, and for the suggestion about moving Henry to the wing; it certainly didn't work at Juve...
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10/05/2007 11:01:00

How about Henry and Anelka upfront and RVP in the wing?
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10/05/2007 11:27:00

If we get him or if Boss really wants him
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10/05/2007 11:38:00

At juve, henry was played at right back, not right wing, ptv... »»Arsene Knows««
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10/05/2007 11:42:00

"Henry then left Monaco and moved to Italian Serie A club Juventus one year before his friend and team-mate David Trézéguet in January 1999 for £10.5 million. He played on the wing, but was unable to cope with the Italian defensive discipline of the Serie A. Henry scored just three goals in 16 appearances." A quote from Wikipedia. Putting him at right BACK would just be plain stupid. :p
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11/05/2007 09:09:00

On the other hand, he started out as a winger (With Wenger as his coach), so it might just happen.
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11/05/2007 09:10:00


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