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Thierry Henry Tipped to Replace Arsene Wenger as Arsenal Manager

Arsenal's French player Thierry Henry (L) stands next to manager Arsene Wenger as he prepares to substitute for a team-mate during the third round FA Cup football match between Arsenal and Leeds United at The Emirates Stadium in London, on January 9, 2012. AFP PHOTO/IAN KINGTON

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Matt JonesFeatured ColumnistMarch 7, 2016

Arsenal icon Thierry Henry has reportedly been lined up as the man to replace Arsene Wenger as the club’s manager, once the Frenchman’s dynastic spell in north London comes to an end.

L’Equipe journalist Karim Nedjari said, according to Le Sport 10 (h/t Jamie Sanderson of Metro): “One day Henry will replace Wenger. His philosophy and ruthless mentality make him the boss. He will leave his comfortable chair [as a pundit] and put on his track suit."

Wenger has come under increasing scrutiny this term, with the Gunners looking unlikely to capitalise on the most open season in Premier League history.

Wenger is under pressure after some poor Arsenal performances.
Wenger is under pressure after some poor Arsenal performances.Alastair Grant/Associated Press

Indeed, a diligent draw against local rivals Tottenham Hotspur leaves Arsenal eight points back on Leicester City with nine games remaining. Prior to their fightback at White Hart Lane, the Gunners turned in dismal showings, falling to defeat against Manchester United and Swansea City.

The Emirates Stadium natives are restless, too. As Kevin Palmer of ESPN FC notes here, in what could be his final season at the club, it’s not a pleasant situation for Wenger, whose contract with the club is up in 2017:

Still, whoever is chosen to replace the Frenchman when he eventually departs will have a massive job on their hands given the club has been doing things the Wenger way for two decades. So perhaps that’s why Henry, the club’s all-time record goalscorer, has been touted as a potential replacement.

After all, the Frenchman is immensely popular in north London. During his playing days, he lit up the Premier League, putting Highbury and then the Emirates Stadium under his spell with some mesmerising forward play. Since hanging up his boots, he’s become a regular on Sky Sports as an analyst.

Henry is now an analyst on Sky Sports.
Henry is now an analyst on Sky Sports.Matthew Ashton - AMA/Getty Images

When it comes to his beloved Arsenal, Henry hasn’t pulled any punches either. As Bleacher Report UK relays here, there have even been suggestions Wenger has been upset with some of the comments made by his former player:

Additionally, while Henry will be forever etched in the club’s folklore, he has no managerial experience whatsoever. All the best will in the world from the supporters is unlikely to compensate for that, especially at a juggernaut of a football club like Arsenal, who will be entering a key phase in their history.

Henry is immortalised in bronze outside the Emirates Stadium.
Henry is immortalised in bronze outside the Emirates Stadium.Catherine Ivill - AMA/Getty Images

As Jonny Singer of the Daily Mail noted, despite the criticism that has come his way lately, Wenger still has some magic:

It’ll be difficult to imagine Arsenal without Wenger at the helm. When a club that has had such a clear figurehead for so long loses that point of reference, it can be destabilising; just look at Manchester United's issues post-Sir Alex Ferguson.

So regardless of how this season ends for the Gunners, the post-Wenger stint will be tough to negotiate, as the club gets to grips with a new leader.

Henry, one day, will surely be involved in the set-up at Arsenal, but handing him the manager’s position, despite his obvious analytical skills and affinity with the football club, would be a huge gamble. Should Wenger walk away, the Gunners need a thoroughbred coach to come in and replace another one.

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