It’s Good To Talk – Or Not As Thierry Henry Is Finding Out

DDMD

It was bound to end in tears somewhere along the line. Football rarely allows a heroes homecoming and certainly not twice.

Thierry Henry stayed when he could have left, left when he could have stayed and then came back to score the winner on his return. That night, when the Leeds United net bulged, was one of the Emirates most joyous moments.

And taking his coaching badges, becoming integrated into the coaching set-up at the club, it seemed another return was on the cards. The first hint that things were awry came when Tony Adams was recently approached to coach the Under-18s. Why call on another former player when one was in situ?

It seems that Arsène knew then that there was trouble brewing. Henry has a comfortable seat on the pundits sofa and isn’t prepared to give up his Sky duties. Wenger wanted more commitment from his compatriot but wasn’t going to get it: his salary from Sky is £4.5m per year. That makes for a very comfortable seat.

At this point, it’s worth noting that Wenger isn’t immune from criticism here. You don’t have to look hard to find criticism of the manager over his summer punditry roles, especially after last summer.

The specious argument that Sanchez wouldn’t have been signed had Wenger not been in Brazil should be ignored. The Arsenal manager should be at World Cups, European Championships and Copa Americas, scouting for himself and holding talks. He can’t do that at African Cup of Nations, before you ask, as it clashes with the Premier League season.

Henry, whose offer to coach the youngsters for free has reportedly been rejected by Wenger, isn’t prepared to give that up and for the moment, has seemingly opted to put his coaching career on hold. It ends, for now, the Dream Team that never was, of Henry taking the reigns under Wenger’s tutelage, a recipe for disaster for both in my view.

There’s more to it than simply money. Henry was particularly critical of Olivier Giroud last season, proclaiming that Arsenal would never win the league with him leading the line. He’s been proven right so far but it is unfair to lay all the blame for that failure at Giroud’s door. Henry wasn’t without fault in big matches himself, with the Champions League final in Paris a particularly painful example of that.

However, as much as Giroud’s inconsistency hurts, the fault for not having a Plan B rests with Arsène. He’s tried with Danny Welbeck but been foiled by injury. We won’t see for some time yet whether Welbeck has it in him to be a central striker and need another centre forward desperately. With a dearth of strikers and a financially conservative manager, that’s a recipe for not much happening at all.

Crucially, not many supporters disagree with Henry’s point. Wenger may claim otherwise but in this instance, the club’s leading goalscorer is spot on.

And therein is the problem. Wenger is extremely loyal to his staff and squad but they have to toe the line. Only the indispensable players can get away with voicing an honest opinion; everyone else keeps schtum. The pundit’s sofa doesn’t hold with club loyalty, it craves controversy; bland is not acceptable.

The BBC job this summer saw Henry mix his criticism with praise but Sky for all their technology and broadcasting improvements, is tabloid television. Their subscription model demands headlines. Not the buffoonery of Robbie Savage but a considered and cutting criticism which will find its way to the back pages and be remembered in the stands and electronic fandom.

There’s criticism of Wenger over a number of things surrounding coaching and some of it appears to hold sway. Others such as Mikel Arteta going to Manchester City misses the target. The Spaniard recently admitted that he had long made his mind up to work with Pep Guardiola and nothing was going to change it. That’s his admiration for the man as a player shining through and Guardiola’s reputation for success.

In all honesty, I’d jump at the chance to work with him in Arteta’s position; he knows Wenger’s thinking already – Guardiola will broaden his footballing horizons.

However, the perception that Wenger won’t accept any challenge to his ideas is hard to shake off. Frank discussions must take place, exchange views but ultimately, the manager will surround himself with a majority of his staff who share or at the very least, buy in, to his philosophy. A dissenting voice is needed, if only to raise questions in the manager’s mind, but Henry isn’t doing that from the pundit’s sofa: it’s criticism of performances.

The problem with that is two-fold. Firstly, as we saw last spring, it can have a detrimental impact on the player because it is easily portrayed as an ‘official’ view of him, unsettling as much as inspiring the downcast and out-of-sorts. And it gives the media an easy target for images of dissent, a split camp. It can quite easily be a distraction.

And whilst we are looking at this, it’s easy to blame Wenger. However, questions should be asked of Henry and his commitment to coaching. There aren’t, as far as I can immediately recall, any other full-time coaches sitting in television studios, commenting on their own clubs. Not many comment on other clubs beyond occasionally.

Henry was fast-tracked into his UEFA licences by the FA of Wales, and attracted criticism for taking that route. He does have to make a choice: is he going to coach or does he want a broadcasting career? Both are precarious with longevity in either rare.

However, football is a forgiving environment for coaches and managers once they have been punished for failure but cross to the sofa and getting back into the game is difficult. Football has a long memory when it comes to slights and criticism, something Henry would do well to remember.

In the end, the question remains whether it is that big a deal for the club to lose the player. I’d love him to coach the forwards at the very least, similar to the way Martin Keown helped the defence in 2005/06. But Wenger doesn’t want that, which is his choice.

The story though captures the club perfectly: serene on top, fractious beneath the surface. The summer has well and truly begun.

’til Tomorrow.

95 thoughts on “It’s Good To Talk – Or Not As Thierry Henry Is Finding Out

  1. Dissatisfied of ACLF.

    A horrible feeling that the 2016 transfer window is same same as all the other previous transfer windows!

    And good morning, Yogi, man. 😀

  2. Your summary of the Henry situation and dismissal/walk-away is spot on.

    My heart sinks at the thought that Adams will be groomed as the next Arsenal manager fills me with gloom too. [Well I have nothing better to do at the moment] 🙂

    Adams was a great player/captain for us, but his forays into management with small clubs in the UK or abroad have been a disaster — and dare I say it — he does have unusual ideas and views in non-football matters.

    Cuckoo – is an interesting bird, but once in Spring is enough. 😀

  3. Stubborn Wenger – no change there then. In reality I’m sure he knows that Giroud isn’t a title winning striker, and certainly not in the same class as the vast majority of #1 choice strikers at Arsenal in the modern era. But he’s not prepared to bite the bullet and do something about it. He strikes me as a man out of time, someone stuck in his own admittedly glorious past. The world has moved on, and he hasn’t moved with it. Unless (and it’s unlikely) he is prepared to accept that his valuations of players and some of his ideals as to how the game should be played are flawed then he’s doomed to keep repeating his mistakes.

    Arsenal and Arsene have an unhealthy symbiotic relationship. The manager continues to deliver top class financial results and in turn is permitted to indulge himself in his own fantasy of winning the league playing ‘the right way’ (which is of course nonsense, there is no right way). It’s going to take something pretty dramatic to break that cosy little arrangement, something that the majority of fans are still not prepared to contemplate.

  4. An interesting subject for a post Yogi thank you.

    We just cannot know what goes on behind the scenes at London Colney, but there are reasonable assumptions to be made.

    1) The manager’s word is law.

    2) Anyone disagreeing with with him will be putting their Arsenal future at risk.

    It could be that Henry had his own ideas about playing style and the manager couldn’t accept them, or it could be that Henry is not a very good coach and recognises that to stick around would be detrimental to both his coaching and punditry careers.

    As you rightly say Yogi, Arteta has seen the manager’s coaching at first hand and has sensibly gone off to learn from another teacher. Will he come back in the future? Who knows.

    Sadly, at a time when the club desperately needs new ideas, two people who might have provided them have left.

  5. Morning all,

    This notion of the right way of winning is a real puzzle to me. Arsene’s most successful teams at Arsenal just didn’t play that way. In fact, it’s taken an age to get to anything close to winning ways, albeit in one of the domestic cups, by playing the right way. As Bill often says, we actually end up closer in points to fifth than first. That suggests that the right way of playing football doesn’t work. And it’s not just in the Premier League, as we haven’t even had a sniff of the CL trophy since playing the right way.

  6. Morning mates, top and spot on post Yogi.

    If these reports are true and its partly over the criticism of Giroud plus him working only 4 days a week for free, theb I have a problem with Arsene and Arsenal. I could certainly see if Henry was asking to be paid, isn’t he essentially doing the same thing that Pires is doing until his contract is up with Sky? So there is my other problem, Henry is working for Sky and has a contract so he wants to see it out and then decide after that, isn’t that what Arsene is doing despite falling behind the times at Arsenal.

    Who cares is Henry has criticised Giroud, he has also praised him. Its a shame if that is a reason why, I think as professionals both Giroud and Arsene should be able to handlr a bit of criticism. Doesn’t Arsene critize players during his punditry, maybe thats why he can’t sign anybody.

  7. Why does everything have to be a conflict?

    Henry and Arsenal (and in this case you can perhaps personify that as Wenger) couldn’t agree on the working conditions for a job. Big deal.

    To conflate that with Wenger can’t handle criticism. Wenger has yes men. Henry isn’t committed to coaching etc is unnecessary.

    Of particular annoyance to me is the ‘yes men’ meme. Pat Rice was a yes man. Steve Bould is a yes man. Ivan Gazidis is a yes man. Can people stop making character assumptions, especially degrading ones on people who are very very good at what they do.

    As for dissenting views. Every bit of information we get from the inside says Wenger always wants people’s views, but will ultimately decide on his own. Which is exactly what you want from the guy in charge, no? And it is up to everyone to then get on board with that vision and pursue it to the best of their abilities. This isn’t unique to Arsenal or Wenger. Besides, Wenger is so against criticism that he offered Henry a full time job at Arsenal? Doesn’t make sense does it?

    As far as I’m concerned, this is much ado about nothing. Henry will continue to be a pundit, and will continue his coaching badges, either at Arsenal or elsewhere. His association with Arsenal and Arsene will not end, and if he’s any good at being a coach/manager, he can still come back one day.

  8. Morning YW and others what an interesting piece this morning. For me this just highlights how much of a dictator Wenger is, after offering to coach for free it’s still a big fat no. Anyone see the trend here. How many of the class of 99 have stuck around?

  9. @ c it was a power struggle which Henry was never going to win.
    But Wenger won’t be there for ever as manager things will start to change over the next 2 years as I genuinely think this will be Wengers last season.

  10. Anyone see Newcastle’s valuation of Moussa Sissoko?! Made me almost fall out of my seat laughing. Ok he had a good world cup but no way is he worth £35m after the season he just had with Newcastle.

  11. Excellent piece of management. If the role is full time, it is that, period. Offering your services free of charge without being fully engaged is of no use to Arsenal. I agree 100 percent with the manager on this one.

  12. @silver

    See that’s the thing, I’m not completely convinced that this is Arsene’s last season. I actually think that there will be another contract to see out a transition especially if we get top 4 amongst all the money and new managers in teh PL.

  13. C

    I had a question for you but commitments meant that I had to continuously postpone it. Here goes:

    What exactly does Pogba bring to a football team?

    Please, understand that this question has nothing to do with his performances during the Euros. He just strikes me as someone who is talented, but certainly overhyped.

  14. @Highbury

    Then how do you validate Arsene working during the summer and having a contract to be a pundit, isn’t that having a full time job on top of his MAIN fulltime job of being Arsenal manager?

    Given our strike force, keeping him around for free is a great thing.

  15. Might just be me, but I’d hope Mikel manages our team five years from now. Seems tactically astute, intelligent, speaks calmly, hopefully he picks up Pep Guardiola’s ruthlessness and his knowledge of the game and help Arsenal succed

  16. Orson, @ 10:20

    Your assumptions are ‘reasonable’ in that the manager’s word is, and should be ‘law’ or otherwise known as ‘final’.
    Equally, anyone unable to accept that and openly disagreeing with with him will certainly be putting their Arsenal future at risk — and would be stupid or uncaring if they did not understand that. There can only be one coach at Arsenal – that’s business – that’s life — not that the row between Henry and Wenger was anything other than requiring the former to choose what he wanted to do – and choosing to leave if coaching was not the main driver.

    Yogi was correct – Arteta has already learned a lot about Wenger’s methodology as a manager, and will advance his career by studying under Guardiola — might make him a top manager in the future — and I think Wenger would understand that.

    Both of the younger men had to make choices, and both chose to advance their careers elsewhere – not sure what the supposed row had to do with any of it, myself.

  17. @Highbury

    First, let me thank you for not making a judgement based on simply the Euros.

    In short, he is a complete midfielder at what, 22-23 years old. Power, pace, technically brilliant, understands time and space, really good futboling brain that is capable of playing literally anywhere in midfield. Then when you realize that he is 6’3″ its at times drooling. His ability to play in really tight spaces because of his footwork coupled with his physicality makes it really difficult to get the ball off of him. Not to mention, when you watch him play, he is able to combine a free-style kind of futbol at the highest level. He allows for the rest of the midfield to focus on their jobs, he can cover and tackle and then either go on a powerful run through midfield or hit a 30-40 yard pass perfectly. Not only that but he is more than capable of unlocking a defense with an eye for the pass. Defensively, he is a tough tackler when needed but tends to use his long legs to get interceptions and win tackles. I think the thing that you also have to take into consideration with Pogba, is the fact that he is 6’3″ (1.91m), he is 23 years old and there is still so much more room to grow.

    For those that like to be cliche, he is probably the closest thing to Viera that you will literally ever find.

  18. I understand from people that know him that Wenger has a Regal position at Arsenal. He dictates the terms of the interactions that go on. He does not like to be offered opinions by people unless he has asked for their opinion.

    I guess that Henry offered too many opinions for Wenger’s liking. I’m not sure that Henry is a manager, but then that could have been said about Kenny Dalglish and many others.

    I’m glad Tony Adams is part of the set up, his defensive knowledge will be useful.

  19. Shard,

    Your 10:42 is largely a sensible and valid opinion regarding Henry and the reaction to the supposed row, which in part does seem to be rather accusatory of Wenger’s supposed part in it.

    My own comment at 11:32 is broadly in agreement.

    Where I think there may be divergence between us, is your rather counter-intuitive requirement asking/demanding that other bloggers stop making ‘character assumptions’, or in your dismissing what you consider to be ‘dissenting’ opinions, which ironically means that you are expressing ‘dissent’ with other bloggers’ opinions, which in turn would, in effect, also stop the whole purpose of blogging, which is discussing/arguing/venting subject matter of interest to Arsenal supporters.

    My own assessment is that confirmation bias can all too easily rule on blogs, and means that comments can be polarising, and are like preaching to the converted, so that there is no room for nuance, and opinions that are deemed too extreme, or too moderate, depending on the readers perception, are accepted as gospel, or are hotly reacted to.

    Provided opinions do not descend into unnecessary personalisations or insults they are the lifeblood of any thriving blog.

    Just a thought. 😀

  20. Good response to Highbury’s question, C.

    I too like the abilities of Pogba, and would have loved to see him join Arsenal, but I do not see that he resembles Vieira, other than in a physical sense of being big, tall and powerful. There playing styles to this observer do not seem to be all that similar.

    Of course they both tackle, they both can support the forwards, they both can protect the back four defenders, but football is also played in the mind, and the mind sets of both are very different. Perhaps because I remember the latter years of Paddy’s career when he was a perfect captain, mature, analytical and demanding.
    That will probably come for Pogba too as he matures, but, at the moment, he is still too inclined to play for himself, to get too involved in things outside his control, and does not always pick the ‘correct’ option.

    That said, I still admire him and he has huge potential – and at the moment that is all it is.

  21. Nice write up as always YW.
    An interesting dilemma re Henry.
    I guess he needs to decide where he ultimately sees his future.
    He obviously wouldn’t get £4m pa at Arsenal whilst coaching at junior level. But once he makes it at senior level surely he is worth half of Wenger’s salary.

  22. As to Wenger,
    He has over the years, when questioned about his management, referred to the number of games he has managed, and the number of substitutions he has made.
    That suggests an attitude of a man in charge, one who doesn’t like to be challenged.
    So, from where I sit, I wouldn’t be surprised if he surrounds himself with yes men.
    I can’t see Henry falling into that category.

  23. @Henry

    I tend to agree with you abit about the mental part of the game is where , at present, Viera and Pogba differ but I will say he does have the qualities and is a demanding presence both in his play but also in what he demands of his fellow players on the pitch. Naturally as he continues to play he will mature but as a player that has been touted as potentially the best midfielder in the world since really age 16, I think he has been brilliant.

    I should have been a bit more descriptive in me liken him to Viera (simply only did this for perspective purposes not a true like for like) in his ability to dominate every aspect of midfield. I have watched him quite a bit at Juve (more so because I am a Tevez guy and also wanted to track Dybala and see what we could have / should have had at Arsenal) and the one thing that stands out both domestically and in Europe is that he works his socks off for the team. Now I agree that it does lead to at times, him trying to do too much or trying to get into “everything” and then choosing the wrong option but with that we also can’t lose focus of the fact that at 23 years old, he is still has so much to learn.

    The scary thing about Pogba is the fact that he already has shown and done so much in his 4 years at Juve and as you said, he still has so much potential and that is all it is, imagine what happens when he figures it out and really matures?!?!?

  24. Quick transfer updates:

    Vincent Janssen has signed for Spuds for 18m, why Arsenal didn’t take a punt for 18m is a headscratcher.

    Reports in Italy say Arsenal are open to cash + Giroud for HIguain.

  25. Excellent stuff, C, @ 12:27, which is spot on.

    I completely agree with you, my previous cavil related only to your Vieira comparison, and even that is fair enough as I was looking at them from different age related angles.

    Go, C. 😀

  26. I think it was Cash + Giro for Higuain, C. 🙂

    Your comment re why Wenger did not take a chance on Janssen for £18m as we are scratching about for a CF is a good one.

    The answer is straight forward for me — it’s the Money!
    Despite the huge sponsorship Arsenal now get, and despite the massive increase in the TV deals to Premier League clubs, it is impossible to see that Wenger has change in any way from his unrealistic value/cost model.

    More’s the pity.

  27. Dear Sir,
    Henry leaving the Arsenal is not good news but I think they can exhaust all possible means to resolve their differences. On beefing up the squad,Arsenal seriously need another prolific goal scorer and go back to the 4-4-2 system that will accommodate Giroud and another striker. It has worked for France, it can work for Arsenal. Let Arsene borrow a leaf.

    Thanks for the great articles.

    Roger Walugembe
    Kampala-Uganda.

  28. Sorry, C,

    My ‘Cash’ + Giro for Higuain was, of course the same as you wrote — I was simply putting a capital C for Cash, as it was reinforcing my own view [12:46] that Wenger seems to value cash just as much now, as ever before.

    Not sure it was clear. 😀

  29. C

    I agree with you on Janssen and was arguing the case for him before. I know it’s only the Dutch league, but he can only play with wants in front of him and 27 goals still seems like an impressive return. At £17m I would have thought it was a reasonable gamble, especially if we had bought another strikers as well. It will be disappointing if he ends up proving to be a star at Spuds, as we often hear noise from the Arsenal camp bemoaning the lack of strikers available. These “if only” stories will only go away if the club acts decisively in bringing in a striker this summer. I’m just not convinced that we will.

  30. @Henry

    I agree with you about the mental side as it relates to their age. If Pogba was ever to get anywhere near mentality wise what Viera was, he will certainly be the best midfielder in the World today.

  31. @Henry

    I think your spot on about the valuation which is a shame because an 18m punt on a highly rated yet young and talent Dutch striker in modern futbol would be worth it especially when you consider that Arsene just spent 15+m for Chambers. Shame because I still don’t get the argument of being totally self-suffiecient or not spending money because Arsenal would make even more bags and bags if we actually won the PL.

    Well clearly Arsene’s valuation is stuck in the past, I mean if Juve’s director is correct and they were quoted ONLY 35-40m for Sanchez I think its crystal clear. Shame that Newcastle value Sissoko at 35m and Arsenal value Sanchez at 35m yet West Ham said they won’ consider anything less than 50m for Payet.

  32. Cash + Giroud doesn’t make any sense at all. Whilst I think Higuain is an upgrade on Giroud, it still leaves us criminally short of options up front. So we then have to use the cash we saved on swapping Giroud to buy another striker in the region of around £30m. Given the valuations in the market at present, it seems unlikely that we will get anyone who is much cop for that. Now if we had bought Janssen and then done the cash + Giroud deal for Higuain it might have made more sense.

  33. @Wavey

    I think you are spot on. The thing that is bothering me is the fact that Janssen would be what most call a “typical Arsene” signing: 18m for a 22-23 year old Dutch striker who just scored 27 goals in the league and is capable of playing both on the wing and centrally. The thing is, while there is still so much time left in the transfer window, it feels like a striker might not be in the cards. The thing with a player like Janssen is that he could be that Plan B this year allowing Giroud to be CF1 until Janssen took over so its a win win for Arsene and the team.

    I still like Lacazette and Icardi but neither seem likely to leave.

  34. Nooners gooners

    Wenger needs to lighten up, that kind of ultimatum/test is unnecessary. For many people like myself that have had to work two jobs in the real world, the thought of Thierry being unable to both is preposterous.

  35. I just saw a re-telecast of the Liverpool vs Arsenal game and a couple of ideas came to my head. Why would we need to buy a wide midfielder at all? We have different options like Campbell, Ramsey, Iwobi, Sanchez and the Ox who can offer different qualities when we need it.

    Ramsey to help Bellerin make runs.
    Campbell who can dribble, pass and even score.
    Sanchez who can cut inside and work hard, when properly motivated.
    Iwobi who provides a technical counterbalance to Sanchez’s bulldozer like style
    Ox who can offer some direct wing play as well as cutting inside.

    Sure, they didnt play as well last season, but barring Ozil, who did? And with Jeff in the mix, we are good in this department….well lets give Campbell and Ox one last chance shall we? We tolerated Theo for ten years, they have only done five.

    Another thought is rather than buying full-backs, Kante or center back, just go 60-70 million pounds on a worldie like Auba or Higuain. We can upgrade those positions next year as we try to win the champions league…Today the gossip vine has us offering Giroud and 50 million quid for Higuain. My question is would u have just Higuain and at best Theo as backup till Danny gets back to fitness or have both options for variety?

  36. @

    I have no problem with Wenger/Henry’s punditry but remember for Wenger it was a short-term gig, whereas for Thierry it will have to be for at least a year. My issue really is that if the job is a full-time position, then it is in the best interests of the club that a full-time person be employed. Giving the job to Henry, even free of charge, to me, serves his interests, not the club’s. From that perspective, I think it is a good decision.

    Thank you for putting things into perspective for me re Pogba. Funny you mention Vieira because the player who reminded me of him as I watched the final was Sissoko, only that he lacks the finesse. It would be interesting to see how Pogba develops should he join the Mancs.

  37. I agree, if I was Wenger I’d chuck em 70m, NO exchange player and send a personal apology to Gonzalo. Napoli won’t be able to find another striker even at Oliver’s level, but if they’ll only do an exchange realising this then, bye bye Oliver. Take the hand off at the wrist and prey Theo has a decent year.

  38. @gunnerlife “Is Kanu an arsenal legend?”

    Possibly. He was a great player. One of the most skllful I have ever seen play. His hattrick against Chelsea was amazing.

  39. Akshay,

    Yes, I would rather have that than Giroud and the supporting cast you mention. That said, we have enough money even to buy Higuain without a swap arrangement. The club should go for it. I have had enough of being told that we have enough money, yet it’s not spent on what we need.

  40. Actually I was talking about Higuain and Giroud or just Higuain. If we sell Giroud for Higuain, we still have a lack of forward options to choose from

  41. Another top quality post Yogi.

    I can’t get worked up about Henry leaving. There is no reason to think he would be a great manager other then we love the romantic notion. I would think Arteta would have more potential as a manager but that’s nothing but pure speculation with zero evidence to back it up. If his goal is to become a manager then I think Arteta is doing it the right way by working with Pep. Being exposed to the different styles and ideas of successful managers is the best way to learn.

  42. It obvious that the price tag cannot be a justification for Arsene passing on Janssen, so we can only assume he’s confident that he can sign someone better – or at least he had better be. When you think that a couple of years back before prices really went through the roof he paid £16m for Chambers who had played less than a full season at Southampton, and before that in 2011 he paid £15m for the 17-year old Ox who had only played in League One at that time.

  43. Kanu is an arsenal legend granted he didn’t play as many games as he should have done but would walk straight into this current Arsenal team that kind of flare from someone so tall is seldom seen.

  44. It certainly seems like the stability of our coaching staff from the manager on down is unprecedented in this century. I have been complaining about that for about 7 years now. My own belief is that Arsene surrounds himself with managers that have similar beliefs. For lack of a better way to say it, he fills his coaching locker room with AKB’s.

    One of the challenges for any manager is to periodically freshen things with new ideas and prevent the club’s mentality from growing stale. That’s why so few of even the most successful managers stay with the same club for more then a few years. You could easily argue that we have been stuck in rut for many years. We have finished closer to 5th then to 1st in every season since 07/08 and we have finished at least 10 behind the league leader in 7 or the last 8 seasons. We have one of the greatest and most expensive groups of creativite midfielders in the history of world football and yet we constantly complain about our attack being slow and toothless and unimaginative. I think, we need new ideas and we need to freshen things up but how do you do that if you have exact same coaching staff with the exact same ideas every season? One of the ways that Fergie avoided going stale was to frequently change his coaching staff and being willing to delegate. I wish Arsene was a little more flexible and made some changes but it is what it is.

  45. @ Bill 100% spot on re Wenger. Only he doesn’t see things as being stale.

    Higuan, Sanchez and Walcott is definitely better than Giroud, Sanchez and Walcott but my view is we should break the bank to get our quality striker Janssen going to spuds touched a nerve.

  46. @Bill

    I hear you, but even Jose has had the same assistants for a while now. “Fresh” ideas shouldn’t be mistaken for dissent. Look at the reported differences between Hodgson and Neville. They do the team no good. I don’t think there is any manager who would have an assistant s/he is completely at odds with. There is always a good chance that you have assistants that subscribe to your vision/philosophy.

  47. It will be interesting to see how Janssen does with Spurs but the fact that no one else in the world was willing to pay more probably says a lot about how good he is. IMO. If anyone else thought he was going to be a great player then they would have bid more for him. Gervinho, Podolski and Giroud were all leading scorers in their league when we bought them but the the reason we were able to get them for such a low price was because the rest of the world knew they were not worth more then we paid. The idea that Arsene is more market savvy then the rest of the world may have been true in 1999 but it does not fit today. There are certainly exceptions but in today’s world you usually you get what you pay for.

    All that said for under $20M Janssen certainly would have been worth a punt. It’s a relatively small amount of money in today’s dollars and it would certainly be unfortunate if he does turn out to be the unusual player that the market misjudged and he becomes a difference making player for Spurs. If we had bought Janssen he could have played on the wing and allowed Iwobe to play in the olympics and then gone on loan which is what should happen IMO.

  48. Highbury @ 2:36

    I understand what you are saying and no manager will have a coach who fights him at every turn but I think the unprecedented stability of our coaching staff has more downside then upside. There has to be someone is the staff with the cojones to tap the boss on the shoulder and suggest that perhaps some of the things we are doing are not working as well as they should and we should at least try something a little different. Those who have been on the blog for many years will know that I started complaining about this in 08/09 when our defense was killing our results and Arsene shot down the idea of defensive coach. There has to be more balance because there has to be some way to bring in new ideas and freshen things up.

  49. I’m lookin forward to seeing whether iwobe’ promotion has niggled akpom enough to push through. A striker force of Gonzalo, Danny, Theo/Chuba would be amazing.

  50. @ colts I like Akpom too but the kid has an attitude problem. He’ll need to knuckle down if he wants to ply his trade in our team.

  51. I certainly will admit that none of us are insiders and all that stuff about our coaching staff is pure speculation and I can’t prove any of it and it’s possible that I am 180 degrees off. However, IMO it fits with the preponderance of the evidence that we have regarding how Arsene runs the club. Discussing ideas and tossing around speculation is what we do on a sports blog. If we were only allowed to discuss things we know with 100% certainty then there would be almost nothing to talk about.

  52. @Highbury

    I get what you are saying about if its for a full-time employee, the issue I have is that it hasn’t been a problem all season long as he has been working with the youth, so why now especially if based on reports he is going to work for free. Sure, higher a full-time employee BUT Henry has already started and made a connection so why not keep him around, the wealthy of knowledge and teaching that he could do not only for the youth but the first teamers would certainly help. If the issue is that he criticized Giroud, well if Giroud is that weak minded than it is even more reason to go and find one (I’m not saying that as fact just based on what has been written).

    I like Sissoko but he doesn’t have the finese or even more consistent technical ability of Pogba, kind of a bull in a china shop mentality. It would be interesting to see how he would develop under Mourinho.

  53. Allegedly – A Chinese club have offered Gonzalo Higuaín this:
    €50m/year
    €4.1m/month
    €650k/week
    €92k/day
    €3.8k/hour
    €63/min

  54. Jonny

    But they put something in the water there that makes you go nuts. Did you see Ramires go crazy and try to chase the ref on YouTube?

  55. Henry has to decide between the easy route being paid a shit ton of money to snipe from the sidelines or to put his neck on the line.

    You’re not going to remain impartial being a pundit and managing for a club. As we’ve seen with Martinez, you’re also going to get distracted.

    Neville admitedly was pretty decent with his commentaries but as we saw when he went to Valencia, easy to espouse theory, not so easy to put into practise

    Fact is hardly any of the pundits many people tend to listen to (especially with gossip) have ANY experience managing a top level team let alone worked in the transfer market.

    So which is it?

    The easy path (lobotomy with the media but get paid a load of money…sign me up) or the cauldron of management?:D

  56. If he went, it would the end of his career so that kind of money makes sense. He’d also be the first decent player to go there.

    Be surprised if he did go though.

  57. As I mentioned before, the supply situation for strikers this summer is made tighter by Chinese clubs able to spend big money.

    Pelle may not have gone for too high a price but his salary is impressive. Hulk gone for 47m.

    This puts a squeeze on the middle end of the market and makes it even trickier as we have to bide time before striking for a top end CF as there are teams around us (United, City, Chelsea, Madrid, PSG, Bayern, Barca) who can and are willing to spend a ton of money (100m for Pogba ring a bell?)

    Last summer IMO was even tighter as many of the CFs preferred not to move ahead of the Euros and the teams they were at preferred not to sell.

    So all those who think its as simple as going out and tabling a bid are missing the critical point.

    There’s no elasticity in the market at the moment. We need some teams to make their moves and commit (Put themselves out of the picture). Also prices will generally cool as we get closer to window’s end

    This is not a game for the faint hearted.

  58. Giroud’s agent has spoken:

    ‘If he was asked to leave, then we would evaluate options,’ he told Radio CRC.
    ‘There is no fear from Olivier about possibly going to Napoli: it is a magnificent city.
    ‘In Campania, my client could lead a wonderful life.
    ‘Not to mention that the type of game played by Sarri could enhance the quality of a centre-forward like him.’

    Every other article I found sent me back to this one.

    Read more: http://metro.co.uk/2016/07/12/olivier-giroud-happy-to-leave-arsenal-for-napoli-his-agent-confirms-6002579/#ixzz4ECynyRWr

  59. Neville was ALWAYS going to fail with most people stating that before he even got the job. Lucky to get it as his mate hired him but hard to tell the players what you want done when you don’t speak the language!

    Also, with Henry, I think the thing that people are missing is that he has already been working with the youth and that was going to continue but instead he was let go. Surely Arsene and Arsenal had to know that he Henry was going to see out his contract prior to letting him coach this past season?

  60. I think the top strikers will wait to see what counter offers they get in Europe. This is still a stronger league than China but the new found Chinese power does not help with prices.

    It keeps Higuain and other striker’s prices inflated. Not only are teams like United, City, Chelsea, Bayern, Barca, Madrid, PSG and to some extent Juve competing with us for a limited resource of top end strikers but the Chinese clubs are also throwing a spanner in the works.

    Our alternative maybe to consider developing say a young Draxler into a CF hybrid striker role (he reminds me of RVP) or we just simply have to wait for a couple more moves to take out some of the competitors.

    The problem is there is also pressure on the second tier of strikers in the market with the amount of TV money affording other PL clubs better spending power and it produces a double squeeze.

    Hence I feel Wenger has pre-empted a potentail move for a more left field choice by bringing in Asano as an added potential insurance. This does not mean he will take the path of say converting a Draxler into the role but he is prepared for all eventualities as the market is extremely fluid at the moment.

    The likes of Morata, Lukaku, Lacazette and Higuain all remain possibilities as even Benzema. Much depends on what their parents clubs have in mind as well.

    Very complex situation. If you move too early you will trigger the pack and go into a bidding war we cannot match against certain teams.

  61. On the flip side, you have the agents and their charges. They will want to stoke the current situation to their benefit and play hard to get to the bitter end.

    This is something the media (prefers not to ) understand or educate their audience with.

  62. I don’t think you can in hind sight say Neville was always going to fail.

    He had a decent chance. Theoretically, he made a lot of sense but football management is a whole lot more. You are talking about club culture, politics, the human factor, the players.

    Easy for him and others with NO experience to snipe and espouse views from the sideline.

    What intrigues me is how most of the major outlets do not employ ex managers more frequently as their pundits.

    Then again when you listen to the nonsense coming out of old twitch Redknapp, you can understand why.:D

    Talk about impartial.

  63. Henry needs to decide.

    You can’t be in two camps.

    Personally I feel he is not mature enough and will need to go through hard knocks. Some of his comments frankly have been lazy and influenced by the media pack around him. He has been too apologetic to their views many of which are simplistic.

    I don’t find Henry a very good pundit.

    And I think he has A LOT to learn in managent. Being a presence in the youth team is nothing.

  64. c it was a pure power play by Wenger, Henry should walk away and complete his badges elsewhere away from Wengers dictatorship. No one will be able to convince me that something like 6 hrs of tv work a week at the most is disruptivery to his day to day commitments with arsenal?
    @ c I hope you are wrong and arsene simply sees out his current contract, but like most dictators….. They rarely relinquish power easily 😉

  65. @silver

    I tend to agree, no way a couple hours of punditry (normally when a PL match is going on) can disrupt but then again I’m not in that situation.

    I hope I am wrong too but I have a funny feeling that Arsene will sign another 2 year contract.

  66. Rather sell Walcott than Giroud.

    He has been far less productive than the Frenchman who has at least been consistent.

    Last season Giroud netted 24 goals. In his best season for us Walcott managed 21. And that is sporadic at best.

    He is getting older. his pace will wane where as Giroud doesn’t play with pace to begin with so he will keep going. Walcott is an exorbitant option off the bench and his wages could be freed up to make way for a better player.

    I’d sell Walcott, keep Giroud, make a punt for Gonzalo if price cools (or options are a younger mOrata to develop or left field Draxler to develop into the middle but that could necessitate maybe bringing in another insurance striker, someone not top end but decent enough/very experienced just in case)

    If you are going to straight swap Walcott than maybe Lacazette.

    Many options on the table.

  67. Why would the media outlet want to bother with someone who is only going to be a pundit part time? For all that money?

    Does not make sense. Plus I think it will interfere with Henry’s impartiality to be involved in a club and make comments in the media (unless its off season)

    Its a stupid thing to do to have a person committed to coaching get distracted like that on the flip side.

    either or for me. Wenger is right.;)

  68. There are plenty of other candidates to come into the Arsenal job. Why is Henry so special just because he was a legend?

    This does not necessarily translate into management.

    From what he has said in the media, I think he has a lot to grasp still. Where as Bergkamp at very least has put in the hours.

    People tend to make too much of this whole legend thing and automatically assume they are management material. Some of Henry’s comments are extremely naive.

    If he was a manager/pundit, his comments on Giroud alone would have had damaging effect on the team. Not that I think he would be as blatant if he were but you should also understand the soft side of management. We are dealing with people not widgets Which is why Neville could not succeed.

    You either commit full time to one thing or the other. No two ways.

  69. @Santori

    But why would Henry’s comments on Giroud have an affect on the team any more than say Giroud commenting on Ozil or visa versa, or Ramsey questioning and spouting about how he doesn’t want to play on the right but instead play centrally? I think as a professional you have to know that if you don’t perform you will come under scrutiny. Plus, if Henry is working for the club then is there a difference between Arsene publicly stating that the defense can’t deal with headers or that our CF needs to be more clinical?

    I think it comes down to Arsene’s loyalty to his players which I find a bit funny given he might not have last this long if it wasn’t for in no large part to Henry.

  70. Whether Henry will make a good coach/manager doesn’t matter to me, keeping the family, especially high ranking ones at the club should be seen as priceless. How many coaches understand the striker position better than Henry, and you don’t want that around your youth? Even thrice a week? Madness.
    Twice? No? Utter madness.

    Voluntarily gettin rid of the influence of highly influential players over the years is beyond madness.

    Wenger needs to stop with this baggy trousers shit.

  71. Excellent comment from Shard earlier today.

    I’m guessing we didn’t go for Jansen because he isn’t the type of forward we want. That fee is obviously not beyond us as we’ve already seen with Alexis, Özil, Xhaka etc

    As C, Arsene does not do punditry every week during the season. Probably quite a big difference..no?

  72. @Mean

    I don’t get Sky but I doubt Henry does it everyday plus he(Henry) was already working with the youth so while still working for Sky as far back as early last season so why the change of heart now? Didn’t they know he had a contract, so make a bug fuss about it now?

  73. Mean Lean

    This specific incident by itself with Henry is not really a big deal and can easily be explained and is almost meaningless is isolation. However it adds another little piece to the body of circumstantial evidence which suggests that Arsene probably has control over more facets of the way our the club is run then other managers and he is not really interested in having counterbalancing opinions. I understand that not everyone would consider that a problem. However, completely blowing the whole idea off as absurd is not realistic given the multiple little bits of evidence. The idea that Arsene is enamored of control had to start somewhere and the way he handles anyone questioning his judgement certainly reenforces the idea. I know it’s a worn out cliche but where there is smoke there is generally fire. The amount of smoke that we have seen throughout the Emirates era has to come from somewhere.

  74. @Colts,
    Think about it.
    1. The manager wants a full-time coach.
    2. Henry only wants to do the job part-time.
    3. Because he wants to continue being a SKY TV pundit with, no doubt, complete freedom to broadcast his views on football.
    Surely Arsene wouldn’t have taken long to decide his response.

  75. Nicky

    Didn’t realise Henry said he wanted to coach part time, I thought he said he would do it for free. Can’t imagine punditry would take up so much time it would restrict him from coaching full time.
    Anywho, my main gripe was not having him around at all, that, to me is cutting off your nose to spite your face.

  76. Henry is a legend, Arsene Wenger is a bigger legend, if Arsene wants a full time coach and Henry is not ready to be one, then bye bye Thierry. Alex Ferguson will not put up with this neither will Mourinho.

  77. Not to mention the strikers we’ve managed to bring through the youth up to this point is a big fat ZERO. So it makes no sense to cast aside one of the best strikers ever who loves this club so much he’d coach the youth for free.

  78. I think the thing that is being so overlooked is the fact that Arsene just last season asked him to work with the youth and did so all last season and now it has become an issue. Arsene wants Henry to break contract but yet talks about how shameful it is when people break contract.

    Henry has been working as a youth coach since last season FFS!!!!!

  79. One thing we need to understand about the Thierry Henry situation is that he was not coaching the under 18s for free from an altruistic motive. Rather he was doing so in order to help himself qualify for his UEFA pro licence.

    Henry has already had exploratory talks with both Watford and West Ham about continuing his work towards the necessary coaching qualification at their academies.

    Tony Adams is three weeks into a five week probationary period for a job with the under 18s.

  80. If Jose is putting Daley Blind on the market, I’d have a look at what they want for him. Not that I imagine he’d sell to us

  81. Damon, at five foot eleven Blind is not the commanding centre back we need to play alongside Koscielny and haven’t we had a bad experience buying defenders from United? Sylvestre?

  82. Orson

    I’d see him filling in at CB, not a starter Utility player, offering cover at LB and CDM as well

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