Thierry Henry to Return to Arsenal: Why It's the Wrong Move for the Gunners

Michael Cummings@MikeCummings37World Football Lead WriterDecember 5, 2012

LONDON, ENGLAND - JANUARY 29:  Thierry Henry of Arsenal reacts during the FA Cup with Budweiser Fourth Round match between Arsenal and Aston Villa at Emirates Stadium on January 29, 2012 in London, England.  (Photo by Paul Gilham/Getty Images)
Paul Gilham/Getty Images

Thierry Henry is on his way back to Arsenal for a third spell with the North London club, according to an exclusive report by Goal.com's Wayne Veysey. Call me crazy, but I say this is not the right move, right now for Arsenal.

According to Veysey, Henry "has agreed in principle" to rejoin Arsenal on loan from the New York Red Bulls of Major League Soccer. The loan would begin Jan. 1.

Henry, 35, previously played for Arsenal from 1999 to 2007 and again on short-term loan last winter. He has scored 228 goals for the club, an all-time record. For that, he deserves respect and maybe even a third spell with the club.

Will Tidey, my colleague here at Set Piece, will tell you that this is a good move for Arsenal, that it could spark a run for the Gunners. He's wrong. This move, on its own, is not the right move for Arsenal and manager Arsene Wenger.

Here's why.

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Arsenal are 10th in the table, 15 points behind leaders Manchester United. The title is already all but out of reach. Arsenal's goal—even this early in the season—must be to climb back into contention for the top four and Champions League qualification.

The squad, as currently constructed, seems incapable of doing that. A leaky defense poses a major problem, as does inconsistency in the attacking third. Bringing in a 35-year-old Henry for another victory lap won't solve any of the team's issues, no matter how much he deserves it or how inspirational he might be.

Sure, Henry could spark a few younger players to perform greater feats. Henry could teach his countryman Olivier Giroud a thing or two, and Gervinho might even figure out how to hit the broad side of a barn with Henry giving him a few pointers.

But this simply can't be Wenger's only attacking move this winter. Able-bodied reinforcements—lethal attacking players in their prime—are needed, and Wenger must spend real money if he wants to get back into the race for the top four.

On its own, this move smacks of indecision and mid-table aimlessness. Arsenal need top-class attackers, but at 35, Henry is no longer that. If he is the only attacker Wenger brings in this winter, Wenger deserves whatever ill treatment the fans have in store for him.

If it's just one of many moves, then fine. Henry showed last winter that he still has some value to the team. But he can no longer be the main attraction, either on the field or in the transfer market.

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