No titles coming to the Emirates: Wenger looks for King Henry yet again
‘Winter is coming’ seems an apt state of affairs for Arsenal FC at the moment. Though the team looked refreshed at times due to the new signings brought in by Wenger in the summer, they also seemed to be drastically short at certain positions right from the start.
And as Africa decide to hold yet another Cup of Nations in January 2013, Wenger has to again take a call to beef up his striking options. Last night the French coach released a statement that Arsenal fans were dreading, and the rest of the league were mocking:
“He has been practising with us. Will I sign him again in January? I don’t know. I don’t rule it out. He is sharp.”
Yes, Arsene Wenger is again looking to the legendary Thierry Henry to fill in the void that would be left by Gervinho and Chamakh in January. Common people will not be able to understand that at how many levels Arsenal fans will feel wronged.
First of all these fans have Gervinho and Chamakh as backup options for the main striker role; this alone would leave most of them discouraged for major parts of the season. Gervinho, who regards himself as an equal to Ronaldo, is often more interested in petty battles of beating the defender to the touchline, cannot be considered as a True or False No. 9.
The other option is the curious case of Marouane Chamakh, who at times seems more disinterested on the field than Fernando Torres, and other times is seen on the bench. Wenger is now ready to let his Moroccan striker to leave, a player for whom he rightly waited a year more rather than spending 10 million Euros.
So as all these miseries finally come to the fore in the winter, Wenger turns to his most successful striker; 35 years and running, captain of the New York Red Bulls Thierry Henry seems set to return back to his favorite hunting ground. A player who can now be seen as more of an off- field motivator rather than a game changer on the field; Henry is way past his prime in terms of pace and trickery.
Once a daunting challenge for any defender to play against, the Frenchman is now nothing other than a presence in the final third. Though he came on last season to score 2 crucial goals for the Gunners, his labored running and wayward touches left many a gooner groaning at the Emirates.
Any sort of an impact that Henry had last time around was majorly due to the presence of the supporting striker RVP. Persie though a well versed finisher can also play the role of a playmaker to perfection; and at times the Dutchman had to shift into that role to suit Henry. But now times are different at the Emirates; Giroud is the definition of an out-n-out No.9 and is now proving himself lethal in the box. To accommodate Henry, the maximum Giroud can do is to utilize his excellent jumping abilities to lay-off for the elder Frenchman; but with Henry’s pace, this doesn’t seem to be an enviable option.
“You know what he gives you. He gives you hope, especially when he comes on. That is the most important thing,”
“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.”
So amidst all the confusion and excitement that is going to surround the Emirates folk in the coming months, the re-return of Thierry Henry just suggests that Wenger already has another striker option and is bringing back the King just to lift up the dressing room. Every Arsenal fan will be hoping that this option would be contract rebel Theo Walcott, but looking at Wenger’s previous escapades with players in their final year contracts, youth team players Benik Afobe or Chuba Akpom look the more conceivable options.
Arsenal’s chance at silverware seems to be slimming away yet again, and despite Peter Hill wood’s continuing assurance that the club will rise to the top in the near future; one does not remember seeing Roman Abramovich bring back Andrey Shevchenko or Eidur Gudjohnsen when Drogba left for the African cup of Nations last season.