There was a time, 2 years ago and more, when the thought of Henry leaving Arsenal had me in a cold sweat.
He was at that time Mr Arsenal, everything that made us who we were and epitomized the football we played. Add to that the presence on the field and those amazing goals, I wonder now what is going to happen? I have taken some time out, away from the tabloids and had a good look at the last two seasons with Henry as Captain. Here is my conclusion:
This move is best for Arsenal.
Henry was never my first choice for Captain and I still believe he has never been a great one. Not a terrible one for sure but I don’t think he was ever able to lift Arsenal up on his own the way Paddy or Adams was able to do. So in that respect Wenger can now look to promote a real leader in our team. Gilberto is probably the obvious choice but I would prefer to see a younger player be given the responsibility. If Diaby could prove he can play a full season without getting injured he would be my choice but perhaps Toure could be the man for Wenger.
Henry was almost un-droppable. It didn’t matter how badly he was playing it was almost as though it was against the rules to drop him or substitute him. No player is bigger than the club but I got a sense that Henry himself perhaps thought he was. I refer to his moaning about DD and even his demands for signings.
He was one of the main reasons Reyes became unsettled. There is no worse feeling than being berated for a mistake by your captain. Now imagine having it done in front of thousands of people + millions watching on tv? Henry did this to Reyes countless times and he has done it with Robin Van Persie. That will now stop, one thing I am very happy about.
If Henry was having an off day we would play an entire game with 10 men. It was almost as though he refused to get involved. The youngsters in the team would never call to him on the pitch to get into the game, because well he is Thierry Henry of course. Now all the players will be on equal playing terms, another big plus for this young team.
Van Persie will revel in the new role of being the main striker.
Personally I am sad to see Henry leave and would have loved to see him stay for one more year. However this is football and players come and go. I can only wish him all the best at Barcelona. But if you look at his career then the following hold true. We signed him for 10 million when he was a nobody. The following 10 years he produced the most sublime football ever seen in the Premiership. He was somebody. He is now in his 30’s and we have sold him for 6 million more than we bought him for. Yes it is probably a tad low but there might be other things in the fee we don’t know about. Remember he will never be as good as he was. So to sum up. We sold him for a profit and got the best out of him. Not bad business.