The Wenger Masterplan is key to the Henry question
Another summer and another tricky time for Arsenal supporters like me who must withstand rampant speculation about star players departing abroad.
Thierry Henry has three years left on his contract and the worldwide press talk is of such fevered nature that it would seem he is a free agent who has the free will to leave or not at the time of his choosing.
But three years on a contract means the ball is in Arsenal's court whether to accept any potential offer for our record goalscorer and talisman player. Given the authority of Arsene Wenger at the club this means it is his decision - and key to this will be how he weighs up Henry's worth in the context of his Masterplan.
The sale of Pat Vieira two summers ago signalled Wenger's signal intent to build a third generation team. He had already assembled Fabregas, Clichy, van Persie, Flamini, Senderos, Djourou, Eboue and Reyes as formidibly talented youngsters in a squad that were learning from 'the invincibles'. And since then he has added extremely promising youngsters like Denilson, Walcott, Bentdner, Diaby, Adebayor, Merida, Vela, Traore, Song, Fabianski and, most recently, Havard Nordveit to his squad.
Not only are the nature of these signings significant- but also the fact that Wenger has taken every opportunity he has had to blood these youngsters and expose them to the realities of top level football so to progress their development as quickly as possible.
This illustrates clearly that for at least three years Wenger has had a Masterplan: to assemble the best youngsters in world football, mould them collectively to his vision of football, mature their development as soon as possible, and then to lead them to a long period of success.
Parts one, two and three are in effect, and now it is a matter of achieving the difficult and decisive final aspect of his supremre vision. If he achieves this he will perceive it as his crowning achievement- and for a determined man like Wenger you know he will give everything to ensure its materialisation.
Now, if I was Henry, I would accept as an honour the leadership (assisted by other determined senior players like Brazilian captain Gilberto, Czech captain Tomas Rosicky, William Gallas and Kolo Toure) of this next generation squad. And Henry is a guy who in his eight years at the club has shown great affinity to Arsenal and what we are all about. But even if he decides he now wants to walk away and sample Barcelona it has to be with the consent of Arsene Wenger.
And Wenger will take the decision that fits in best with his Masterplan.
Now, if I was Wenger, I would refuse to sanction the sale of Henry unless a player of significant ability i.e. an Eto'o, was to come in as a replacement. Otherwise I would feel that I am damaging the stability and hindering the progress of my Masterplan. I'm quite sure this is how Wenger would perceive the situation too.
Lets wait and see... until then I believe we must trust in Wenger.