Thierry Henry is a player I love to hate. It filled me with great satisfaction that United finished Champions of England in his last year in the Premiership. Arsenal fans loved Henry and since I’d strongly disliked Arsenal during the late 90s and early 00s, it came naturally to have such a negative opinion of him.
“At one point it crossed my mind to leave,” Henry said in 2006, after signing a contract which should have kept him at the club until 2010. “But I think with my heart and my heart told me to stay. I’ve never played in Spain and never will. This is my last contract.”
However, just a year later, Henry was being unveiled in the Nou Camp wearing a Barcelona shirt. “I always said that if I ever left Arsenal it would be to play for Barcelona,” he claimed. Did he? I thought he said he was going to see out his career with Arsenal?
Scoring just 19 goals in 47 games, in comparison to the usual goal tallies of 30+ for Arsenal, it’s fair to say that Henry, who will turn 30-years-old next month, has peaked. So why then do people think he could possibly be good enough for the Champions of Europe?
Louis Saha has been strongly linked with moves to Sunderland, PSG, Fulham and Roma, following too many injury filled seasons for United. After getting through the best part of two seasons without an out-and-out striker, following the sale of Ruud van Nistelrooy, it seems as though United are determined to bring in a player who can put away the goals at ease.
Reports in the papers suggest that Tottenham Hotspur are looking for a massive £38 million for striker Dimitar Berbatov. Whilst a top quality player, Spurs are having a laugh if they think United will fork out that much for him. If they want to play hard to get, that is their perogative, but chances are they’ll end up keeping a player next season who is desperate to leave. So this has meant we have had to weigh up other options.
The Daily Star reported yesterday that we were eager to sign Thierry Henry. This isn’t the first time over the past few months that we’ve been linked with the current Barcelona player, however, the frequency of rumours does nothing to sway my opinion on the idea of this.
Ferguson believes the Barcelona forward could do a similar job to Berbatov, leading the line at Old Trafford in a role which would release Wayne Rooney from his shackles. It is the emergence of Henry as one player in the frame that will come as a huge shock to Premier League supporters – particularly Gunners fans. The thought of seeing their hero line up in a United shirt will fill Arsenal followers with dread – but such a prospect is not out of the question. There are few players in Europe with the pedigree to fulfil the role, which has led Ferguson to check out Henry’s situation at the Nou Camp.
The United boss has a history of making surprise signings – the likes of Eric Cantona and Henrik Larsson all came out of left-field. And he has no qualms going in for a player with such a big Arsenal history as he proved two years ago by trying to tempt Patrick Vieira to Old Trafford.
Whilst I think it would be pretty amusing to see Arsenal fans lose their minds over their hero signing for United, it’s hardly worth the £15 million that it would likely set us back. He is a has-been who quite simply is not good enough for Manchester United. His scoring stats from last season are a little harsh, considering he was used out on the wing for much of the season, however he has seen better days and was on the decline before he even left north London.
If Henry was still a top performer, then this rumour would be rather interesting. I can’t imagine how I’d ever bring myself to like him, but it just might possibly have been an option if we were confident he’d be banging in the goals. The wind up possibilities would be endless. Also, he carries the arrogance of our own French hero, Eric Cantona, which we maybe could have learnt to like.
However, this is a no-brainer. He used to be a cracking striker, but now he’s on his way out, and there’s no way United will be forking out a penny for Henry.
Would you be interested in signing Henry?