Life Without Henry: What Does The Future Hold?

So we have sold our captain but what does the future hold for Arsenal?

It might still leave a bitter taste in your mouth but the fact is times change and we have to move on. Arsenal fans suffer much more than supporters of any other team because in a world where players move around and money talks we follow a team where we buy talent young and mould them into not just world class players but integral parts of our football club.

The players we have the fondest memories of are legends like Tony Adams, Dennis Bergkamp, Patrick Vieira, Thierry Henry, David Seaman, Ian Wright, et al – guys who gave close to 10 years of service to our club.

So when they leave the wrench is so much more.

Questions will be asked about what will happen next, and there are a few key areas Arsenal fans are still wondering about:

The Board

No-one really knows what’s going to happen with the board at the moment, but we do know that Dein was kicked out and that American Stan Kroenke has bought a big stake in the club. Will we work with Stan in the future? Will he try and take over the club? Who knows.

Will any of the goings on upstairs have an effect on the manager staying longer than after next season?

The Manager

So Arsene Wenger has 1 year left on his contract.

We know Arsene always waits until his contract is up before he talks about extending his deal, that’s just the way he works. And obviously the media are talking about Wenger leaving after next season after selling Henry to Barcelona.

What do I think?

Well it was strange for Henry to make a point about Dein and Wenger for a reason for leaving. He painted a picture of doom and gloom at Arsenal which isn’t the best way to leave after 8 seasons at the club. The question is does he actually have a point or is he just making excuses rather than say Arsenal are in transition?

I think he was just making his excuses.

My take on it would be that selling Henry would mean building for the future with Cesc, Kolo and the other young players in the club. That will take time although he has most of the pieces in place already, replacing Vieira, Cashley Cole, Lauren, Bergkamp and Campbell who were the core of our last team. With the exception of Gilberto and Freddie, Thierry was the last major player of that squad so maybe Arsene is cashing in and looking at the bigger picture.

That would say to me Wenger will stay on after next season, finishing the job of moulding his 3rd team at Arsenal and seeing if it is good enough to win major honours.

The Players

Obviously with Titi’s departure speculation about Fabregas and some of the other younger players has been picked up in the media. There’s no doubt William Gallas and Jens will have something to say about Henry’s move in the coming weeks.

But it would be foolish to assume just because Henry has gone the squad will fall apart.

And I don’t believe for a minute there’s going to be a mass exodus at the club.

We keep saying the future is bright and that is because it is. There’s no doubt Henry was phenomenal at Arsenal – arguably the best ever in an Arsenal shirt – but it’s time to move on and look forward.

The Style of Play

With Pires, Vieira and Bergkamp in the side Thierry Henry was simply immense.

But without them the team play differently and obviously Wenger thinks Titi is not up to the new style of play, although that might sound stupid considering the talent of the man. I’ve said a few times that we seem to play better without Henry, with the game against Manchester United at Old Trafford as a prime example last season.

There was a suggestion that the younger players would rely on Henry too much during games and now with him gone the players will have a chance to show what they are capable of with more freedom and without the security of Thierry alongside them.

The team in the last couple of seasons has been built around Cesc Fabregas, who has arguably become more important to Arsenal than Henry. Isn’t it funny we always struggle in games where Cesc isn’t playing?

By selling Henry maybe Arsene wants a younger talent who he can mould into this new system.


Many of us thought that Thierry Henry as captain wasn’t working out and I mentioned about 12 months ago that the only way Wenger could take the captaincy from him was to sell him.

C’est la vie…

But who will take up the responsibility now?

Although there are several options to Wenger – vice captain Gilberto and junior captain Kolo Toure – for me there is only one man for the job and that’s Cesc Fabregas. While Gilberto and Toure would do excellent jobs in that role you can almost see Arsene ringing in the new era with Cesc at the fore, and becoming one of the youngest captains Arsenal have ever had in the process.

New Arrivals?

Probably the most talked about subject since losing our captain.

Wenger has obviously got a replacement for Henry in mind, but the question is does he think it’s in the form of Adebayor or a player he wants to bring in?

Possible names being mentioned are Nicolas Anelka, Ryan Babel, Fernando Torres and even a swoop for Samuel E’eto – although it wouldn’t at all surprise me if he kept with Adebayor, because we know Wenger isn’t the man to splash £30 million on a world class striker.

But if I had to guess I would think Wenger would bring in a young forward who he can mould and push for a first team place. We have Bendtner who is back from his loan at Birmingham and with Henry gone could this be the perfect time for Reyes return? I’ve seen stranger things happen in football.

Bottom Line?

Thierry Henry was a great player and a great servant for Arsenal Football Club. But like Vieira before him, life goes on and we will hopefully be stronger in the future as the young guns will have a chance to show everyone what they are capable of.


14 thoughts on “Life Without Henry: What Does The Future Hold?

  1. Fabregas for Captain? Great player, but he hasn’t earned it. Why do you want to over-inflate his ego and have him do a Vieira/Henry on us, by holding the club to ransom for the next few summers?

    Maybe he’ll prove his worth in a couple of years, but right now the choice is between Gilberto and Toure.

  2. Fabregas is not quite ready to captain the team or club yet, although
    he will be in two or three years time.

    In the meantime, Gilberto, Toure or Van Persie should be given
    the captaincy.

  3. Well constructed blog but, as TL says, the captaincy issue is between Gilberto and Toure. Gilberto has the right experience and pedigree for the job … but I think it’s time we had someone who can drive the team, not just wear the armband and be available for photo shoots. My vote is with Kolo.

  4. Good analysis mate. Gilberto’s the captain, if Fab stays, he’ll take over in two or three years time after Gilberto. If Wenger makes Fab the skipo, it’ll be a risk cos it may affect his development, even though he can also adapt quickly but I for one wouldn’t take that chance. Let the boy grow naturally and enjoy himself on the pitch doing the biz without any added pressure, it may kill him. Too much of a risk on Fab.
    As for Henry, thanks for all the memories and raising the standard, but you really broke my heart and it will be hard to forgive, you should have gone last year when we thought you were, we would have made much more (needed) money as consolation. Dein’s exit and Wenger’s contract is just an excuse. Good night.

  5. Gilberto will be the skipper next season, its too soon for Cesc who has already said he’s off if Arsene goes. I feel Gilberto had his best games last season when given the responsibilty of the arm band and should be given the job this coming season with Kolo as vice captain. Ben Cox although we all love Freddie for what he has done for the club i cant honestly see him playing many games next season if indeed he is still here. If he does stay he will spend most of the time on the injury list you wait and see. I have seen enough players in my time to know when a player is in the twilight of a premiership career and im afraid Freddie is there. Valour Thierry broke my heart as well, we have just got to remember the good times and move on although whether we see anything as magnificent again remains to be seen. I have been watching Arsenal for nearly fifty years yes that long and an Henry in full flight was the greatest player i have ever seen play for our great club to say i am dumbstruck at his departure is the understatement of the year.

  6. Sounds like the bookies favourite option to me!
    A bit like Henry going to Liverpool. I think if Arsenal have a successful season and do better than this season then he will stay. Some people don’t realise that there wasn’t the usual twenty plus goals a season banging in the goals for Arsenal, plus a shortage from midfield. Van Persie scored the most with 13, and he was injured in January. With two of the teams best strikers out Arsenal still managed to claim fourth place, something many lesser teams couldn’t with most of their resources available while Arsenal had to rely on the young guns to give a helping hand.
    With the cream of the youth crop now with experience under their belts, and hopefully no major injuries up front again for so long meaning at least one twenty goal a season striker with a second coming close, a new signing or two in midfield to increase compeition for Rosicky and Hleb, more goals from midfield.
    This could be the season where we see arsenal doing the lethal bizzle. Uh-oh, guess who’s back in town….

  7. Vice captain becomes club captain now. We’ve already seen how good a captain Gilberto is. Toure am not sure about, I felt that it good to him in the CC final

    Henry’s new style is more suited to Barcelona where he will have playmakers behind him. He cant run the show at Arsenal but he’s still a great finisher. He’ll enjoy it in Spain. All respect to him he has been a true legend, a gentleman & he will be missed more than any other player

    Its all doom and gloom for some but I for one is excited to see how we do without Thierry. How will Van Persie & Cesc become the two main men at Arsenal. Van Persie is said to be a terrific player in training, we’ve seen his brilliance in matches too & I think we will see more from him next season. We have to find a partner for him rather than replace Thierry. I would play RVP upfront and buy two half strikers to play with him. Reyes and Quaresma maybe. Anelka also makes sense as Bendtner is unproven and Anelka could guide him and Vela (who Wenger rates highly) through. The future is bright, its red and white!

  8. We need a stable captain for the next 4 years at least.
    Going by work rate, Kolo would be 1st choice. He never gives up.
    He will make a great captain.

    Fab needs all the freedom to work in the middle and so does Gilberto.
    It will be better if Kolo leads from the rear

  9. I think Gilberto will be captain with Cesc as his vice-captain. While i love Toure, i just think Wenger will want to make a statement witht he captaincy and Gilberto and Cesc represent the young and the old, the experience and the youthful enthusiasm. Then when Gilberto retires in a few years, Cesc takes over (assuming he’s still here). But any of the three really make a good choice.

    As for Henry, i’m devastated to see him go; as someone who lives in Australia i’ve never had the opportunity to see him play live and i’ll always regret that. But unlike some former players, i hope he goes on to win trophies with Barca (just not as successful as Arsenal will be over the next few years!). CAn anyone see a Barca-Arsenal CL game this season a la Juventus and Paddy?

  10. Just you watch. Wait and see. Next summer, Barca come calling for Cesc Fabregas. And know that familiar tactic of theirs? You knnow…getting others to tap him up by prising the player in public to the media. Now we all know 2 things for certain: 1) Cesc idolizes Henry 2) Cesc will leave next summer as, one more world-class player becomes fed up of playing for an uncompetitive youth team.
    Henry will then kick into action with quotes like: ”I would love to see Cesc here…it would be magic. Barca always has the best players and Cesc belongs here…We would love to play together again etc..”

    Just you watch. Wait and see I will be proved correct.

    I frankly cannot believe this board or Wenger. At one stage the guy created the best team in Europe. He has now created a glorified youth academy for Barca to cherry-pick the best player from. Overmars, Petit, Henry and Cesc. All Barcelona players (Cesc is 90% a Barca player next summer).

    I laugh when I read Bob Wilson say AW does not want to ’spend big money on transfers’. No wonder we are no longer a big club anymore. It is time to face facts. Over the past 3 years we have gone from 12 pts behind the leaders…to 24 (!), and then 21. A one-off freak cup run (we LOST) and that was your load. All because AW thinks he can achieve everything with a bunch of kids. No wonder Vieira and Henry had enough and fucked off. Who can blame them?

    AFC are no longer a competitive team. When you consider we are ranked 5th by UEFA…and then you see that we have produced absolutely fuck all for 3 years, play youth teams in senior competitions (any wonder we get spanked?) and have not signed a top-drawer player for over 4 years ( Gallas does not count. He was not ’signed’ he was forced upon Wenger. Much like Baptista. Last top-drawer signing we made was Gilberto Silva. Rosicky I hear the rose-tinted brigade say? Don’t make me laugh…)

    The worst thing is that Wenger will never change. We will barely see any signings to get the fans excited. After Vieira left, I remember well the anticipation of who we were going to replace him with. Answer? An overrated Spanish teenager who is leaving the club to join Henry next season. A Spanish kid who hardly scores, but sees it fit to treat the club like it’s small-time. But fairplay, it has become small-time.

    Wenger making us a selling club and a youth academy is a fucking travesty. Fucking travesty. Merida to follow in the footsteps of Cesc then….

    Worst part is…what must the young players like Eboue, Clichy and co be thinking…when they see all the world-class players who make it big decide to leave Arsenal when they hit their peak? It gives the message: use AFC as a stepping-stone for easy first-team football. Wenger guarantess you games. Make it big, jump ship when you’ve made it. It’s pathetic that a so-called big club has become a place for kids from Spain and France to get easy first-team football – where they are merely surrounded by other children.

    Thanks for the past Arsene, but I think although you once had it, you have truly truly lost the plot. Henry = £16 Million? ARE YOU MAD?

  11. Orgryte..all though you are a typical passionate AFC fan, you are abviously a youngish, glass half empty person…?

    Arsene has made some very poor decisions, but they probably add up to 5% of the major decisions he has had to make over the seasons. No other manager in the top six has had to keep producing a team fit for the top 4 with so little cash that he has to sell a BIGGIE every other year. If fans like you knew the Arsenal as I have for over 60 years, you would know that he and dein have transformed this great club from a once in a blue moon winner to a 9 trophies in 11 seasons club with a new stadium and quite a few ‘second places’ along the way.

    AFC are funded (yet) by some slightly bent foreigner. Or funded by the local council as per Madrid etc. At present we operate within our means, and have the greatest manager in the world at doing so. If only I could get fergie or Mourinhno or Benitez managing their clubs with sod all money, just for two seasons, Im certain they would fall apart. In fact, Fergie was so poor that after four seasons of failure, even with big money, he was on the brink of being sacked.

    So true AFC fans, ignore the whiners & winging few, face the facts. We have the best squad in our history and will add a few very good players soon. We have the best follow up squad ( who gave multi money Chelski a football lesson the the cup final ) in Britain. This is the same squad who without Henry, Viera, Cole ,Campbell, Lauren & Pires, gave Manure 2 lessons last year, and also murdered Liddypill 3 times.

    All this is down to one many Arsene. HE and no one else turned three failed players, (Henry Viera & Petit) taken from other sides reserves, into super stars. He used then through their peak, and then sold them for a combined £38 million. If you cannot see that as genious mate you need to go and lay in a dark room somewhere and re-evaluate why you claim to be a Gunner!

    My message is, thank you TH, you were great thanks to Arsene, but you will probably fade away after one good year at Barca, and end up at Bolton or Spurs, or even lower at Chelski. Thank you Arsene, real supporters know you are the best thing ever for us, and look forward to next year with our new squad, and the sale of Highbury, so reducing our debt overnight by a third.

  12. I agree with gunner pete what shyte is Orgryte (haha that rhymes) coming out with? Kind of angry had 2 read such a long entry that talked absolute rubbish! The team has always coped with big name exits sufficiently with countless FA cup wins but the last 2 seasons have been different! Imagine we had won both CL and CC finals which we prob shud have done(both were similar finals with unjust results) even ppl like Orgryte would be more optimistic abt the team! However the fact remains that big teams are judged by league results. Look at AC Milan they are a good team but are they feared? No, because they’ve won 1 Serie A title in 8 years+they have thrice the spending power we do! We need 2 regain foothold on the premiership even if that means sacrificing CC and FA cup, Gilberto will no doubt be captain but he needs to start owning up 2 that responsibility! Be proud of that honour and make damn sure 2 let those young lads around u know that this team means business and isnt a “Small-time” or “Selling Club”, Gallas needs to come to the fore, he’s an immense player but needs 2 exert more influence on a young team who would look up 2 a player who has achieved so much! Of course the question remains and is also the title of this article what soes the future hold? Well, a decent centre forward and I agree with Ash “the future is bright, it’s red and white”!

  13. Wenger’s looking to the future and obviously he thinks we can do without Henry.

    Titi won’t be the main man at Barcelona and he won’t be able to sulk or moan at the other players if he doesn’t get a pass. And he won’t be immune to being substituted like he was at Arsenal.


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