There’s a story going around that Henry had a medical yesterday with a move to Manchester United on the cards. The story is bollocks, but the subsequent reaction to the story raised a couple of interesting points.
One, would Henry ever play for Manchester United?
I think that if Barcelona didn’t want him, if he didn’t want to play in Spain anymore, if Arsenal didn’t want him back, if Arsenal couldn’t afford to bring him back and if Manchester United really wanted him, then yes, he’d play. That’s 5 if’s, 5 too many for my liking. Conditions are not a substitute for a blanket refusal to play for another English team, and as Henry and so many other players have shown, things change.
One day Henry said he’d never leave Arsenal. Next year he went to Barcelona thinking that the current team wouldn’t win what he wanted to win in the time that he had. I wouldn’t put too much stock into him saying that he could never play for another English team – time will tell, although I doubt that Man City or Newcastle will bag him this decade.
So if everything worked out, Henry could line up for United alongside Rooney. However, he doesn’t want to leave Barcelona and Barcelona don’t want him to go. There’s no chance he’s leaving till next summer, and a year is a long time in football, so let’s see.
Two, do Arsenal/Man Utd players do better after leaving the club?
We tend to hear this a lot from United and Arsenal fans that players who ‘leave’ often end up doing worse than at Arsenal. I’m sure Patrick Vieira regrets the two Serie A titles he has, or Henry regrets playing in the Champions League semi-final, or that he regrets having Daniel Alves and Lionel Messi on the right flank instead of Bacary Sagna and Emmanuel Eboue.
Or that Ruud van Nistelrooy would chuck his two Primera titles for the two Premier League and one Champions League title he’s missed out on. Ditto for Heinze.
It’s easy to criticise players for leaving your club (easier when they’re moving because they think they’re going to a bigger club) but perhaps there should some measure of respect for those who leave, especially if in the case of Henry, Vieira and Nistelrooy, they’ve provided the club with great service?
Anyway, Henry is not coming to Man Utd this summer. Berbatov? 30% chance of happening. United could easily go into the next season without a new striker – and you know what? It’s not as scary as it was two years ago, even if the league is going to be much tougher than last season.