Once again, Arsene Wenger and Arsenal turn to a sentimental source that answers some of their fans’ woes instead of actually tending to their real problems. A year older, slower and anything else you want to add, Thierry Henry is on his way to another loan spell in somewhat of a vacation from his American life.
The problem with this solution? Henry doesn’t have that much to offer, and what he has isn’t staying for very long. The New York Red Bulls, his MLS team, will allow Henry to be loaned out so Arsenal get their all-time top scorer back to maybe deflect some attention from the miserable start to the season. He can’t stay beyond February with the club, which leaves him about two months to help Wenger’s wayward ship.
Henry enjoyed his best season yet for the Red Bulls in 2012, scoring 15 goals and adding 12 assists. He helped his team reach the MLS Cup Playoffs, losing to DC United. Last season he stayed until February 17 before returning to the United States, giving him time to play in only four league matches and seven in all competitions, scoring two goals.
Some say that this is more Henry wanting to spend some time in Europe and in London rather than Wenger actually pursuing a player that brings a lot of good memories but also a lot of false hope with him. Amid some claims from Arsenal directors that winning isn’t everything, Wenger is scratching his quite hard trying to figure out how to kick-start his season back into shape. Arsenal have won only twice in all competitions over the last nine matches and scoring only one league goal since their 5-2 win over Tottenham, followed by two draws and a home defeat against Swansea.
Henry won’t come in anyone’s place, but at the moment, his presence is probably better than nothing. Olivier Giroud is Arsenal’s only real striker, and if Wenger isn’t planning on making a move for anyone in January, with the market not looking too promising and Fernando Llorente announcing he’ll only leave Bilbao in the summer, Thierry Henry might be as good as it gets for Arsenal. If not with goals, than at least by adding the option of playing with someone else at the front, or just giving his wisdom and influence to a team desperately looking for someone to pull the wagon.
Someone once wrote It is strange how we hold on to the pieces of the past while we wait for our futures. If Arsenal are headed in the direction they seem to be, holding on to the memories of Henry’s glory days isn’t going to rush in any new, bold and shiny future. It’s going to make his departure even more painful, when the fans realize that even adding a 35 year old striker to their squad is somewhat of an upgrade, and how nothing has really changed, despite the return of a familiar and beloved face. Arsene Wenger better have a few more tricks left up his sleeve.