The longest-serving manager in modern history announced he was stepping down from the helm of Arsenal couple of weeks ago. Since then, the whole world has been ablaze with excitement, respect and sorrow for the 68-year-old. Understandably so, Arsène Wenger has been a polarising figure amongst the Gunners faithful, but now the whole fanbase has come together to rally behind the team for his last few games as Arsenal manager.
Now the challenge of finding the Frenchman’s successor has intensified. There are already a number of speculated candidates such as; Luis Enrique, Carlo Ancelotti, Mikel Arteta, Patrick Vieira, Brendan Rodgers and none other than Thierry Henry. All of these names would do a competent job, except for, I’m sorry, Thierry Henry.
Here’s why Thierry Henry shouldn’t replace Arsène Wenger.
What experience does Thierry Henry have? He may be one of the greatest footballers in the club’s history, but that doesn’t mean he’ll be a success as a manager. Not all great players turn into great managers. Since retiring as a player, Henry has worked tirelessly with several age groups to attain coaching badges. Now he sits as Roberto Martinez’s #2 at the Belgium national team, looking to lead them to a successful world cup campaign.
Don’t get me wrong, Thierry Henry certainly has an unrivalled pedigree when it comes to top quality football. The man has won the World Cup, the Champions League, the Premier League and multiple domestic cups in every country he’s played in. When it comes to that, there aren’t many who can relate to his success. But that doesn’t mean he should automatically be Arsenal’s next manager.
Before inevitably becoming Arsenal manager in the near future, the 40-year-old must make his managerial debut at a club with much lesser expectations. It’d be career suicide for the ex-striker to manage his first club straight after the greatest manager in the club’s history. That’s exactly how you set someone up to fail because the expectations would overwhelm him.
On a normal day, the Arsenal job is a tough match for anyone, but after 22 years of doing things in a certain way, there is a lot to be undone at the Emirates. In fact, several ‘deadwood’ players need moving on in the summer. For example, Laurent Koscielny, Jack Wilshere, Calum Chambers and Petr Cech will all need replacing and upgrading in the summer. Can Thierry Henry be trusted to take charge of such a major overhaul? No way!
Depending on whether the Gunners can overcome the dominant Atlético Madrid or not, Arsenal may or may not have Champions League football next season. So, the next manager of Arsenal will need to be of high profile, to attract quality players to the club without UCL football. Thierry Henry is a legendary player, but he’s not respected in the managerial world yet.
If I were Henry (which I’m not), I’d come out of Roberto Martinez’s shadow and take my first job as a manager at a smaller club, either in Ligue 1 or Serie A. I’d gather up some experience and then start my quest to become Arsenal’s next long-term manager.