The two sides of Thierry Henry

Thierry Henry: upgrade on Chamakh or HUGE upgrade on Chamakh?

I knew that yesterday’s post would bring out the people who moan about Arsenal moaning any time there’s a bad patch so let me start by addressing that issue. Remember the Boy Who Cried Wolf? Remember how at the end of the story when he cried wolf there was actually a wolf and the townspeople ignored him and the sheep were eaten and they all resorted to cannibalism or starved to death because it was winter and they should have protected the sheep at all costs even though the boy who cried wolf was an asshole? Erm, the point is that sometimes when the boy cries wolf there’s an actual wolf!

Tuesday against Wolves, Arsenal were unlucky. You can complain about the team complaining about their luck in the past all you like but when that team creates 19 chances in 45 minutes and doesn’t score a goal you have to say that they were unlucky. Arsenal deserved three points from that game.

In fact, I applaud that performance. How many times in the past have we seen Arsenal allow a goal because of sloppy defending, go into their shell, and try to pass the ball into the net? Tuesday against Wolves, Arsenal dropped that shit and went direct. In the second half, Arsenal passed the ball less and attacked more: attempting 87 fewer passes in the second half but attempting more than twice as many shots. Arsenal were unlucky, Wolves were lucky, shit happens.

And now let the gnashing of teeth begin over my position on whether Thierry Henry would be a good signing. This is really simple:

  1. Arsenal need a back-up forward until Chamakh returns from the Africa Cup of Nationalism
  2. If you think anything else, please see #1

First, I agree with people who say that Arsenal’s problems in the forward spot are long term. This might seem to contradict my position above but hold on, I’m getting there.

Chamakh’s form may be deader than corduroy but he is still under contract at Arsenal and by all accounts one of Arsenal’s highest paid players. You and I may want to “cut him” or “sell him” but as we all know by the fact that Almunia is still gainfully employed by the Arsenal things aren’t that simple. The chances of Chamakh being sold in January are about the same as me landing a date with Cheryl Tweedy. Sure, if I see her I’ll ask but I’m not going to mortgage my future on it.

That means Chamakh will almost certainly be on the books until this Summer and we have to be prepared for the possibility that he will be around until the end of his contract, just like Almunia.

Like I said before, from what I gather Chamakh is making a pretty hefty salary — because he came to Arsenal on a free — in the £80-90k/wk range. Now, maybe he’s the kind of guy who will take a pay cut to go play for Bordeaux. Maybe, unlike Wayne Bridge, he actually does just want to play football. And maybe Arsenal can find some kind of deal where we let him go for free and thus convince some team to take him. But that’s almost certainly not going to happen until this Summer.

I’d hate to be the supporter of a club who are so desperate for a forward that they would take Chamakh and his enormous salary, his underwhelming performances, and the fact that he won’t be available to suit up for my team until February.

Oh wait… catch 22, I am a supporter of that club.

That’s the reality of Chamakh’s contract and form at the moment. Arsenal are paying him top dollar and he’s got a nice long contract and he’s in terrible form. Good luck trying to move that player in this economy.

That’s what makes Theirry Henry attractive; he’s better than Chamakh. I wasn’t joking yesterday on twitter when I said that Henry will score more goals for Arsenal in the month of January than Chamakh will. Because Chamakh will not be around to score goals! That alone is reason to take him.

But if I’m right that Henry’s salary is similar to what Arsenal would pay Chamakh while he’s at the ACN (clubs don’t pay salary during nationalism tournaments, right?) then it’s not just a wash it’s a huge upgrade. Just on the fact that Thierry Henry would be around The Ox™ and Walcott to instill the Arsenal way and impart a few striker’s tricks.

The other factors you have to add in are that buying in January is extra costly all on its own and that whomever we are going to buy must be willing to be a backup to Robin van Persie. So, to buy Olivier Giroud (who is having a career season and would be a huge gamble) the price has already been set at around  £50m. That’s if Arsenal could do the deal.

Chelsea need a striker, REALLY BAD. You cannot think for a moment that if Arsenal do manage to convince someone like Giroud to play second fiddle to Robin that Chelsea wouldn’t just swoop and offer better personal terms and a real chance to play first team football. They beat us to Mata.

This is why Arsene’s long-term approach works and why the short-term buying of on form players in January at the most costly part of the season to play second string to Robin doesn’t. This is also why a two-month loan of a player who still has goals left in him makes perfect sense.

Taking Henry on loan doesn’t solve Arsenal’s long term problem at the forward position but like I have argued that’s something that, barring a Christmas miracle, will have to wait until this Summer anyway — and then, there’s still a huge IF about moving Chamakh.

Arsene will do a deal if the right player is out there so I’m not ruling out any signings this January. I’m just saying that Arsenal are stuck with Chamakh so, we might as well have Titi back to fill in until Chamakh returns.


40 thoughts on “Thierry Henry: upgrade on Chamakh or HUGE upgrade on Chamakh?

  1. Vote -1 Vote +11NilToTheArsenal

    If Chamakh was in any kind of form, the question would be a non-starter. As a super-sub, Henry would be an “upgrade” at the very least. If he can inspire the younger players while he’s around for a month or two, and they can carry that inspiration into whatever on-pitch minutes Wenger gives them in 2012, then that may be an longer term advantage.

    Henry’s temporary re-appearance in an Arsenal kit it just that – a temporary boost as Tim points out – with a lot of potential benefit perhaps intangible. Rose coloured glasses aside for a moment, f he does come on loan, Wenger has got to find a way for him to produce beyond hid legendary status.

  2. +1 Vote -1 Vote +1Tino

    I look forward to seeing how Wenger deals with the striker situation in January, because I remain wary and skeptical on signing Henry. If someone told me that Arsenal were planning to ‘swoop’ for some random 34yr old MLS striker, I’d question it and I think most of you would as well.

    I think most are taking an emotional response to Henry, but I know Wenger won’t. So if he Wenger signs Henry, I’ll be pleased, because it won’t be done out of sentiment. If Henry is not signed I’ll be just as satisfied, because the manager feels he’s not what we need.

    I won’t be surprised if we don’t bring in a striker in January and Wenger will be quick to point out that we seven strikers(Park, Van Persie, Chamakh, Walcott, Ox, Miyaichi, Gervhinho)

    1. +3 Vote -1 Vote +1Tim Post author

      Gunners would question it if Arsenal signed anyone. Podolski? Unproven outside of Koln. Giroud? One season wonder who can’t pass and is a specialist off set pieces. Ronaldo? Bad temperment. Messi? Too small. Jesus H. Christ? Sure, but can he walk on water on a February night in Stoke?

    2. Vote -1 Vote +1londoncalling12

      @Tino, Additional comment… Terry Henry knows every Nook and Cranny of every stadium in England (Wales Millennium) except maybe Swansea (someone will correct me) and to some degree all the Managers in the EPL, they may have changed clubs but they are still there.

      Terry Henry is like The Borg (Star Trek) all he needs is 10-15 minute of play to sous out most defenders and their method of play, and he is in.

      Nevertheless I do have some reservation about him returning, and yes I hope it’s more Larsson than Fowler.

      On the other hand buying a striker in January 2012 and expecting him to shine immediately is not gonna happen or very rarely happens. We would be in deep shit if RVP gets injured and the new man has not yet adapted to the EPL. Can you image the boos and negativity around the supporters and media if Arsenal fall on the wayside again in 2012.

      But in my opinion if Terry Henry returns and scores a goal every second game, and that goal ensures a win…. I will be very happy, also if Terry Henry returns and play a 4.4.2 formation role enabling Theo to move up front, I will be very happy, and lastly if Terry Henry returns and influences the players on the field of play to be the best they can be, I will be more than happy…..But I am so afraid he may come in and give the young ones The Stare for a missed pass… I remember that look my friends…. but by golly I hope he has mellowed with time.

      HOWEVER….He has not signed and maybe we are being served a curve ball via all this media speak.

      And what we really really need is a Left Back loanee… I hope Arsene is looking!!!!!!!

  3. Vote -1 Vote +1flygerian

    i cant blive chamak gets paid 80k a week, how? am a die hard arsenal fan, but i knew from day one that chamak was a fake… look at his record from Bordeaux, he has not even scored more than 50 goals for them. he cant hold the ball for more than 5 secs, he is a striker for goodness sake,i cant wait for him to leave arsenal , i cant blive we sold eduardo and got chamak.
    Henry siging wld do Arsenal a lot of good. And i hope we sell chamak real soon.

    Nice Articule by the way

    1. +4 Vote -1 Vote +1Akash

      @flygerian, You knew on day one that Chamakh was a fake..
      Really, Isnt it time you got your head out off your arse?!? Die hard arsenal fan? I’m guessing you were one of those who complained about Kos last season. Besides does being “Die hard” make someone smart and allow them to see through players and look into the future?

      By the way, when Chamakh was leading Arsenal’s lines single handed last season and scoring goals what were you saying?

      Get a grip. By the way did you know Drogba was a late bloomer? Do you remember his first season at Chelsea? Do you remember his first world cup? You’d have thought Drogba had a fear of goals!!

      1. Vote -1 Vote +1GoonerTerry

        @Akash, well said…Chamakh needs time away. He will probably bang in a few at the ACN and come back with some belief…Jack will be back and they can revive their partnership – I have said on here that Jack seems to be the only one that can pick out Chamakh runs.

        @ Tim: I may be wrong but I believe that we still have to pay the players that go away to play for their countries. Only now the countries have to cover then with insurance – unlike before!

      2. +1 Vote -1 Vote +1Gunman


        I donno about the guy above but I for one actually did believed he was a very average player From day one and It was pretty fucking obvious. And Btw I have never questioned Kos or any other player, I still think Park is a very Smart player who can poach goals but he has played all his games with 2nd team and frimpong+Coq midfield which is not that creative really.

        And yes I was saying Chamakh wasnt good even when he was Scoring goals as well, because I saw him fluffing quite a few great chances (and i still remember most of them like couple vs bpool etc) , he dived a bit to win pens, and even in his good run I dont remember him beating a couple of defenders and shooting , I remember him not running onto great through balls and Ofcourse I remember him turning back twice from 1v1 position vs Spurs. Ofcourse you wudnt know that he wud have such bad form but really I never rated him even when he was scoring goals. He is Ofcourse a better player than his curent form suggests but was much worse player than his early goal scoring record suggested too.

        Also being Die hard fan can help because I wud then actually watch matches rather than be blinded by stats and simply say ohh he has 9 (or whatever) goals by now he must be amazing

        Its sad because when I would say he isnt good enuf when he was scoring I would get abused and now when I would say ‘I knew it from day one’ I would still expect to get abused.

        Also just because Drogba developed into one of the great strikers u feel Chamakh can too sounds bit naive to me.

        Fact is he was Signed was because he was a bargain rather than a great/very good striker.

  4. Vote -1 Vote +1Nikki

    Tim, what do you personally think about the left wing/mid status that will be left by Gervinho? I know that it seems that the top forward option (RVP,Chamack, Park) might not be visible to be add (bar a loan) unless one of the options are sold. But i think we have quite a similiar problem with Gervinho/Arshavin. And that’s where Podolski might be add. But other than him, i don’t know who else. Our left back problem also makes me wonder wether we will buy/loan or not.

    1. +1 Vote -1 Vote +1Tim Post author

      @Nikki, Arsenal are not buying any more attacking mids as far as I am concerned: Benayoun, Walcott, Ox, Miyaichi, Rosicky and Arshavin all play there. The boss is talking up Ox and Ox is talking himself up so I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see him get a string of games behind Arshavin.

  5. Vote -1 Vote +1Gooneryank

    The arrival of Titi appeals for sentimentality sake and I believe he is better than what we have now. I would also like to see Podolski come in January. Sure he was a bust at Bayern. Most feel he retreated to his home town with his tail betwixt his legs but I don’t think that’s the whole story. He was promised that a team would be built around him which just hasn’t happened. Lukas learning from Henry would be invaluable. I’ve also read that Per has been talking to Podolski about coming to Arsenal. Reports say 15M quid would get him here from Cologne.

  6. +2 Vote -1 Vote +1NYC GOON

    As far as I remember, the clubs ALWAYS pay the salaries of players EVEN during world cup/Euro/ANC/Copa America

  7. Vote -1 Vote +1critic

    The fucking point here is arsenal can’t buy/loan any foreign players without selling some1. We have the complete quota of 17 foreign players.

    How the fcuk are we gonna get henry? Nobody took alumunia in summer why would any1 take him in january? Same is the case with squillaci.

    One possible transfer that could happen is vertonghen. By selling squillaci the other way.

    For alumunia, arsenal have to bear losses while striking off his name from team sheet from january onwards. Henry comes in then.

    One can buy baines as he will be counted as homegrown but next year ramsey and co. will be turning 21 then again problem of limiting squad numbers to 25 arises.

    Even in summer new arrivals can’t be bought without selling likes of rosicky,arshavin,benayoun who all are experience heads of team. Selling them again will create situation like post 2005 when talent was there but due to lack of experience titles couldn’t be won.

    Some respite for arsenal management will come in the form of selling RVP and THEo….wait what??!!

    1. +1 Vote -1 Vote +1Tim Post author


      Whoa… hostile.

      First, this is a Premier League squad rule only. It does not effect the list for the Champions League, the FA Cup, and the League cup.

      Second, Arsenal can name up to 8 homegrown players. They currently have 5, one of which is Mannone.

      Third, Arsenal can name 17 players who are both over 21 and are not homegrown. Which they have done. Of those players, Arsenal could change the registration of Almunia, Fabianski, Diaby, and Squillaci and I’m not sure how many people would shed a tear. Arsenal can do this during any open registration period (January).

      Fourth, the FA allows for teams to petition for exceptions due to injury. So, if someone does get taken off the official list, like a keeper, say Mannone, Fabianski, or Almunia, and Szczesny gets injured, well, then we just petition the FA to allow us to rename one of the others.

      Fifth, Arsenal can name an unlimited number of U21 players.

      This means that in January Arsenal can recruit up to three homegrown players and an unlimited number of U21 players. What happens in Summer? Well, a lot of things actually.

      Benayoun is on loan. His registration ends as soon as the loan is done. That’s one free spot in the coveted 17 without selling anyone.

      Almunia’s contract expires. He will not be re-signed by Arsenal, that’s two free spots in the coveted 17 without having to sell anyone.

      Ramsey and Szczesny both stop qualifying for the U21 exemption. However, they will always qualify for homegrown. This means that Arsenal will have 7 of the 8 slots taken for homegrown.

      So, let’s recap.

      Arsenal can sign three players in January with no impact on the 25 man rule.


  8. Vote -1 Vote +1DF

    Has anyone imagined TH14 may be a destabilising figure in the dressing room? I know he is a good man, but it does not mean other players won’t feel threatened by his presence.
    On the other hand, if he is to replace RvP, with his age and slow pace now, I cannot imagine he can be as effective or even half as effective as Robin. He may destabilize the way we attack as he cannot lead the line anymore.
    I can imagine he playing on the wing, like Gervinho, putting in crosses or holding up the ball in front and delivering killer passes, or scoring with free kicks.
    In other words, TH can play the Bergkemp role WITH Robin, not to replace him.

    What if TH14 turns out to be a flop, like the 2S –Silvestre & Squillaci? Will we be disillusioned?

    We bought Arshavin & Chamakh with high salary but they only give us half a season of brilliant football. What happens to Wenger? How can he, who can spot a talent miles away (rf Reyes & Eduardo), and who is so expert in sensing when a player goes downhill and selling him at the right moment(Overmars, Peit, Vieira), fail so spectacularly with these two players?

  9. Vote -1 Vote +1londoncalling12

    Arsenal v Wolves…a Recap

    Having missed the first 20 minutes of the live game on Tuesday afternoon (transport problems), I watched the game on the I player today in full. Firstly may I say my submission a few hours following the game was spot on…. but by golly, as Tim stated in his Blog yesterday … were we very unlucky.

    The second half was so exciting I watched it twice just to see/ observe the Play of certain individuals.

    Kosser: Was like a machine…. he was bummy forward at every opportunity, and what a strike from a narrow angle – but saved by keeper.

    Per: He had an excellent game and what a header, he did everything right accepts score (the keeper again)

    TV5: His last five minute effort was going in… and again what a performance from their keeper

    Ramsay: He brought light to the game, and was excellent

    Gervinho: His goal was great and he has learnt to bypass the keeper, not aim directly at him… great work

    Rosicky: Was my Man of Match, but alas he and Yossi are similar players and both lacking in speed.

    Hunt: Is a cheaper version of Barton, bully boys and attention seekers.

    Red Card: Not a Red Card, but I did applaud when he was sent off

    Finally I don’t care if the likes of Le Grove and his minions say we should have won… Well we did not so there…. but were bloody Unlucky on Tuesday.

    I cant wait for Saturday… QPR will be interesting… time to release the OX maybe.

      1. Vote -1 Vote +1londoncalling12

        @jax, Oh my English patois and its idiosyncrasies … Bummy Forward in “ back a yard “speak is making a forward run in the hope that one of his teammates will release that “killer pass” to him.

        In de bac a yard we ‘aver a difeerent brogue, you know wha’ I mean Bro! ( SMILE)

  10. -1 Vote -1 Vote +1ready

    Problem with AFC I see today in terms of winning trophies is that we’ve stagnated in these last six years. The only way we’ll ever win any sort of trophy is by adding to the squad, now there is the argument that we have too many players, well if need being we need a clear up. It’s been said time and time again but Rosicky and Diaby need to go, plenty of chances we’ve given them and they never step up- all they’re good for is getting injured. Benayoun is going back to his parent club as well so we get three midfielders and spend good money on them, not some cheap alternatives. Of course, I’m living in a fantasy land so I think I’ll just accept the truth that for the next few years to come we won’t be winning any trophies…at least AFC could do is lower the ticket prices then

    1. Vote -1 Vote +1Cliffy


      Arsenal havent won trophies for six years?!?!? how can their fans still call themselves a top club!?..
      What is their manager doing!? clear up the manager first and then the dead weights…he is not good..all he does is buy cheap players…and brittle ones who cant play in English league..

      I dont think they will win anything this season or the next..and after that RVP will go to Real Madrid..We need to buy Vertogen or top players like Giourd..Why is not Wenger buying Gourcouff or Gomis..instead of Henry? Gomis is scoring goals and already in the international team.. did i do?

      I think we have a good team as it is…It will be good to add Henry for two months…with a base salary and rest on appearance/performance. But he will be in the pecking order behind Park for me. Its barely a safety net…but will see us through the time when Chamakh is absent. I hope he comes back from ACN stronger…Henry could contribute a lot to the team, but that need not be by taking up a role in the first team..which he is not going to carry on. It will be a morale boost at the best and a two week insurance. I am also keen to see on what happens to Carlos Vela and Bendtner in the summer.

  11. Vote -1 Vote +1ready

    My concern with bringing Thierry back is that it only provides an extremely temporary solution. He could set the world alight, but when he goes back at the end of Feb, we’d be essentially swapping him for Chamakh and still have the exact same shortage we currently have. Thing is, if he’s brought in along with someone else it’s a masterstroke. However, we know as Gooners that time and time again we have been left wanting in transfer windows. Expect a short term loan of someone at left back possibly and the return of a legend, but I don’t expect anything else and would be surprised and delighted to see someone like Podolski come in, just can’t imagine it happening! Nevertheless, will stay positive and support the boys and hope for a bit of a miracle!!

  12. +4 Vote -1 Vote +1Eng

    good post!

    another factor regarding chamack is that he can gain form playing that nationalism tournament. Eboue went down and came back kicking lauren out on the dench. when chamack returns, in superb condition, henry will have spread his wisdom to all the other during his loanperiod (I WANT HIM BACK). This will result in goalgalores were we will win every game.

    Also, gervinho will be going. This is good news for arshavin, who is the better player but on terrible form and in the need for regular playingtime. imagine arshavin on top form this spring, alongside chamack, 2 lans.

    on a serious note, arshavin and chamack may gain most from this, give them a chance.

  13. Vote -1 Vote +1Cliffy

    I think Henry has lost a bit of brain going by the pic :)
    …or is he doing a lot of heading in MLS?

    Dont know if no. of passes is the right measure…

    but I doubt in the golden years Arsenal passed the ball this much quickly as they do now. Yes, they did dominate posession, but with not as many passes. Guess the passes per game was around 450-550 in 2006, 2007 and 2008..while now its upwards of 550 in most games. I havent watched much of MLS but i guess that stat is going to be lower there..Specifically Arsenal play has become a lot quicker this season than last time.While I think the creativity has taken a back seat due to obvious reasons. Henry for all his goal scoring has done a fair bit of dependence on the creativity of midfield to pick him up..or spot his run.

    Current play does not really suit him..and its wrong to change it.

    But I think i will have goosebumps when I see him keep the ball on the spot for a freekick…

  14. Vote -1 Vote +1The Red and White Observer

    BREAKING NEWS: ARSENE WENGER PRESSIE CONFERENCE TODAY 30th DECEMBER …..”Henry deal is not complete yet but he will add ‘exceptional experience’” So he is coming .. Tim can finally ejaculate ( See his twitter a/c re what I refering too)

  15. Vote -1 Vote +1gerry

    I hope the signing of Henry for two months is not only to bring back a legend to please fans as there is no other signings to come!!!!!They might even try to drag it to the end of the transfer window and then if it falls through say there is not enough time to make tranfers?

  16. +1 Vote -1 Vote +1Tee Song

    With Henry’s signing almost complete, I have to ask what this signing means in terms of Arsene’s confidence in Park? With Gervinho and Chamakh off to ACN, that elevates Arshavin into the starting lineup and Park as backup to RvP and one of our “players to be thrown on in search of a late goal”. Clearly, bringing in a player on a two month loan as cover for RvP and Gervinho and an impact substitute speaks to Park’s quality as much as anything.

    I also think the signing reflects on a lack of production from three other players. It’s not that we lack cover for RvP per se, we lack goal scoring overall from the rest of the squad. People like to bash Gervinho for his finishing but Theo has two goals from 39 shots (in the BPL), Ramsey one goal from 29, and Arshavin one from 23 compared to Gervinho who is our second leading scorer with four from 27. If those three were hitting at a not unreasonable 15% conversion rate, we’d overall have nine more goals and I don’t think we’d be signing Henry. Chamakh has never been a prolific scorer. I think his highest total for Bordeaux was 16 in all competitions. But he does bring others into play and can be decent if he’s not being asked to carry a large scoring burden. It’s a little unfair to ask a reserve forward to carry the scoring burden when our starting attacking midfielder and wings are not exactly carrying their share of the scoring load. I don’t mean that to say those players need to be sold or won’t find their shooting boots but their current lack of goal scoring form is a big problem and, I believe, a primary driver in Henry’s signing.

  17. Vote -1 Vote +1ctpa

    I’m thinking of a number. 5 is a nice number as in 5 goals and 5 assists for Monsieur Douze.

    Right now, EPL play unseen, he is a better option on the left than Arshavin from what I’ve seen watching him in MLS. Let’s not forget the he will have a fear factor, he’s quicker than Arshavin on his best day and most RBs playing today. He will open up defenses and he will have an impact.

  18. +2 Vote -1 Vote +1ctpa

    Bolton bought Cahill for 5mil and we offered 6mil (the infamous “derisory” offer) which we upped to 12mil and this could have gone to 15mil with incentives. We all knew (all that is except Phil Gartside and Owen Coyle) that Arsenal’s offer was an exceptional one for Bolton with Cahill out of contract in 2012. Bolton held on to Cahill for an additional half a season and are facing relegation with Cahill’s market value plummeting because of Bolton’s poor play.

    Bolton were thinking of a higher number last summer (17?) and badly overplayed their hand. They now end up with just 7mil (if and when Cahill stops asking for the moon in personal terms) and we came up with a better player in Per Mertesacker for around 10mil.

    Once again Wenger vindicated.

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