If Spanish rag Marca is to be believed, Arsenal and Barcelona are already well into negotiations that would see Thierry Henry move to Spain with Samuel Eto’o and Â£17M in sacks of cash heading the other way.
This, is what will now be known as the Greatest Deal Ever ™.
Henry is in decline. People always bang on about how footballer’s prime is when they are in their late 20’s (Henry is 29) but that’s generally a load of bollocks. Football players can peak physically at different ages depending on what “peak” means for their style of play. Speedsters like Michael Owen were never going to be at their “peak” when approaching 30. Football circumstance can also dictate a different peak, Henry enjoyed the best years of his career during a spell of relative dominance for Arsenal in the Premiership. The club is rebuilding now, and at 29 there’s no guarantee that he would see the fruits of this new Wenger side.
That isn’t to say he’s anything less than world class anymore, but he’s started very slowly downhill in body and mind. His fitness problems last season were the first major ones of his Arsenal career and you have to question whether his body is breaking down even if his skills have not. Suffering numerous, niggling injuries, as Henry did rather than one major one is even more worrying. His mentality has been questioned even by Arsenal fans, who got on his back when his incessant moaning at team mates during a tough spell led to some calls for him to lose his captaincy.
Eto’o, on the other hand. Is just 26 and currently in the best form of his career with a few more prime years ahead of him. To get a player like him AND 17 million at a time when Arsene Wenger’s purse strings are still relatively tied compared to their rivals, seems almost too good to be true. Not only that, but Arsenal would be collecting the player who Liverpool, Chelsea, and Manchester United have all been allegedly singled out as the man they want to lead their line. It doesn’t get much better than that.
The emotional attachment to Thierry Henry may sway some to want to keep their legend at all costs, but to the objective neutral this deal seems pretty ridiculous.