Thursday, May 10, 2007

Henry to Catalonian giant

http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2007/soccer/05/10/barcelona.henry.ap/index.html

Once again the rumor of Henry moving to Barca finds its way into the mainstream press. Barcelona appeared close to getting their man last year after they won the Champions League, only to see TH14 sign on with Arsenal and extend his contract.

However, after a disappointing season for both Henry and Barca, might his change of scenery make more sense now? I believe that Henry should go to Barca if Arsenal get Eto'o in return. Here are my reasons:

  • Style of play: Henry has been a primary reason for the success of Arsenal, however the team has changed and I think the style of the team is slightly different. Enough so to make Henry a little less lethal. When Arsenal were enjoying their success in the early 2000, they had players like Pires, Ljungberg, and Wiltord giving the field a lot of width. They were willing to play the right and left channels allowing Henry to roam free up front. Additionally, Vieira was sitting in the middle of the park providing the link from defense to offense. The team was clinical in its passing and movement of the ball. The team was mature and had the right players in the right places. The current version is still trying to find itself...with Cesc, Rosicky, Hleb they seem to like to carry the ball, and to attack the middle of the park. They are young and figuring out what style works best for them. This does not play well with an Henry that needs his freedom to be at his most dangerous.
  • Captaincy: The weight of expectations has been heavy for Henry. Since Wenger gave him the arm band of captain, it appears that Henry has been pushing too much. No one questions the professionalism or talent of Henry, but not everyone can be a team captain. Gilberto has been more than a vice captain, and he should be full time captain. But you cannot put that genie back into the bottle.
  • Eto'o: If Wenger can get the Cameroonian striker in return, I think it is a worth while move. I think both strikers might need a change of scenery to continue to develop. Eto'o would also fit, what I think is the new Arsenal better. He is deep lying striker which would open up the space that Rosicky, Cesc, Hleb, et al need to operate in. His finishing skills are second to none. Henry would do well in the Barca system, which is a much more free flowing creative system with Henry at the tip of the sword with Ronaldino on one wing, Guily on the other and Deco supporting the attack.
So with all this smoke, I think there is a much larger fire. Henry has had a great run with Arsenal, but it might be time for TH14 to seek new challenges. Wenger should jump at the chance to secure an Eto'o, turn his attention to signing a winger such as Ribery and put the final touches on the new generation of Gunners.

Will we see this next season??

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