Arsenal legend Thierry Henry to quit coaching job following clash over Sky Sports punditry
The season has yet to start but Arsenal fans already have some bad news – in an unexpected twist, Arsenal hero and record goalscorer (228 goals) Thierry Henry is set to leave to his job as a coach after a difference of opinions over his job as a Sky Sports pundit.
It’s the third time Thierry Henry is leaving the London club, after joining Barcelona in 2007 and then returning to AC Milan after his loan ended in 2012. Former captains Mikel Arteta and Patrick Vieira have also left the club, both of them to Manchester City – but the man whose statue stands outside the Emirates is of a different dimension to Arsenal fans, and his exit will be further ammunition for the ‘Wenger-out’ brigade.
The French Invincible, Euro and World Cup champion was working towards his coaching badges as a youth coach at his beloved team, who claimed their highest finish since Henry was there last season (2nd). As well as coaching 4 days a week (for free), he has been working as a pundit for Sky Sports; which is where the friction arose.
Henry was guilty of some ‘implied’ criticism of new Arsenal and France striker Olivier Giroud while on air, which didn’t sit well with compatriot and former manager Arsene Wenger. Last year, as Arsenal’s title challenge showed its usual late-season stumbles, he said, “I'm afraid, they need a top, top-quality striker in order to win this league again”
Giroud’s response was muted, merely saying, “I know Thierry.. we will have a conversation between two men. I'm not angry against him... it's alright. I'm not going to be upset about that.” Either way, he’s got the backing of both his international manager Didier Deschamps (who started him in their 1-0 final loss in the Euro 2016) and Arsene Wenger – who has now asked Henry to quit his £4million-a-year job if he wishes to continue working at the club he broke numerous records for.
Their all-time record goalscorer has completed his Pro Licence and just needs to coach a team to become a qualified coach; he’d hoped to do that at Arsenal but Wenger has insisted that it must be his sole concern. Academy coach Andries Jonker hailed his influence on young Gunners and offered him the U-18 job but Arsene Wenger stepped in.
Despite his offering to work for free, Wenger categorically defined the work as a full-time one – meaning Henry would have to quit his job. It seems he will leave, following Marc Overmars & Dennis Bergkamp out of the Emirates. Will this be another blow to Arsene Wenger’s image amongst his fanbase? Only next season’s transfers and league finish will tell!