9th January 2012. A special moment for Gooners around the world, as London stood still for the well-publicised Return of the King….
Ex captain, legend and French maestro Thierry Henry departed the Emirates Stadium in the summer of 2007. Among the distraught fans was boss Arsène Wenger, who was faced with the task of replacing the Gunners all time top scorer with a limited budget and a declining squad.
The following season, Croatian recruit and goalscorer Eduardo Da Silva put his reputation to the test, scoring magnificent goals in Arsenal’s strong title challenge, yet a broken leg put an end to Arsenals hopes for the league, as well as the proclaimed replacement for “Titi.”
After the antics of the North London derby, it’s hard to comprehend that Emmanuel Adebayor was on his way to being the next big Arsenal forward. With 24 league goals to his name, the Togelese hit man became a fan favourite. Despite this idolisation, some fairy tales don’t have happy endings, his summer antics in regards to a move away proving detrimental to his red and white future. Having an average season in comparison to his previous standards, Adebayor jumped ship to the wealthy and emerging Manchester City in 2009. The rest is history (but I’ll leave that story for another time!)
While England wonder kid Theo Walcott stood in the wings waiting for his turn in his preferred environment, the striker position, another current player assumed responsibility for providing the teams goals. Step forward Robin van Persie.
Previously plying his trade on the wings or in “the hole,” “RVP” became the player the world knew he was. After a successful season with minimal injury worries, he assumed the role of captain after talisman Cesc Fabregas went back home to Barcelona. The chant “He scores when he wants,” couldn’t be more applicable to a player, the Flying Dutchman carrying the Gunners with a world class 37 goals during the 2011/2012 season.
Midway through the season, Wenger took the bold decision of bringing his former star Thierry Henry back to the Emirates for the means of backup, a goal scoring return against Leeds getting Arsenals fans and players singing again. After the 6-week loan deal, a dark cloud was left over North London; doom and gloom followed.
Yet again, the main man left, RVP making the decision through “the little boy inside” him, moving to arch rivals Manchester United. Arsène and Arsenal had more work to do, finally utilising the transfer market with the big name signings of Lukas Podolski and Olivier Giroud.
With the new boys initially struggling, King Henry’s remarkable impact was being touted around the stadium yet again. With 14 goals between the new attackers, Thierry Henry returned to train with the Arsenal contingent this month, giving journalists and pundits another question to ponder; could it happen again?
A usually coy Arsène Wenger responded to rumours that the club icon would return in the winter yet again with an honest statement that was bound to shock Arsenal fans.
“Will I sign him again in January? I don’t rule it out.”
Wenger is quoted as saying by Sky Sports News
With players like Giroud, Walcott, Podolski, Gervinho and Chamakh all vying for that sole position leading the line, bringing back Thierry Henry would be one of the worst decisions that Arsène Wenger has ever made. Boosting morale is one thing; yet destroying other player’s careers is another. A rumour that still lingers among the modern generation is that Henry’s ego became too big for the club, his presence hindering the progress of the talented group of players ready to take Europe by storm.
That comeback game against Leeds was by far one of the most special nights to ever grace the Emirates Stadium and built on the Frenchman’s everlasting heroics. However, after Eduardo, Adebayor, Van Persie and now Podolski, Walcott and Giroud, it’s time for Arsène Wenger to move on with the future, try something new and let Thierry Henry and his legacy stay set in bronze….