When Arsenal posted a very emotional message on their website to fans after the departure of our then captain and talisman people wondered how we would replace him and if we would even get into the top four in the coming season. Now, in January 2012, he is coming back. Does he still have the speed? No. Does he have the leadership qualities, knowledge and experience to contribute until the end of Febuary? Almost certainly yes.
The signing of Thierry Henry on a short term loan deal is not only designed to capture the imagination of fans longing for days of the past that are ever closer to the horizon, it is also a huge kick up the arse to the likes of Marouane Chamakh, Theo Walcott and Park. It is fully understandable that fans want more than a stop-gap solution – however Arsenal need someone that could slot straight in and keep the harmony in the squad, Theirry knows how Arsenal and Arsene work, he understands the history and the importance of the club – he is an Arsenal fan.
Over the past 12 months and more we as fans have wanted the players to give more at times, we have bemoaned the lack of passion and leadership on display- there is not one player who will give more than Theirry Henry, embrace the fact he is returning and enjoy it. By all means, it could be the last chance we get to see him play football.
Just having a player like Henry around, a player who can easily be considered one of the clubs very greatest, gives not only the youngsters something to aspire to but it will lift the entire squad – a new(ish) face and a man who will let his opinions be heard, another person who Arsene will listen to.
He has not lost ‘it’. Players that good rarely do. Physically his condition will not be of the standard it was four or five years ago but for a player who is such a showman and so conscious of how he is perceived by fans, he would not make the decision to come back if he didn’t feel he wasn’t good enough. All it will take is one sweep of that legendary right boot to say goodbye in the perfect way – even if he doesn’t bundle in the goals, there are plenty of other ways for him to make his short stay a resounding success.
It is a little late to look back over 2011 now, I have been busy and unable to write anything half-decent. Others could say what I had to say far, far better.
I just want to pay tribute to a fantastic year for Robin van Persie, however. We are privilaged to have a player of such class and quality at our club, we have watched him struggle with injuries for so many years – he has finally got to a point in his career when he can show everyone just how good he is. When Arsene said he is a player of Ronaldo and Messi caliber he was not lying. He has achieved all this in one of our weakest squads for a long long time, the other two play in the best sides on the planet.
I have a funny feeling he will continue to play with us long past this summer, too.