Chance Wenger meeting that sealed Thierry Henry’s move to Arsenal

first_img Despite being the key focus of the Invincibles, Henry could only finish second in the 2004 World Player of the Year award 10 Henry was a wing-back at Juventus before Wenger convinced him to return to playing through the middle 10 possible xi Henry joined Arsenal in a £10.5m deal Asked how much influence having Wenger as boss had on his decision to join Arsenal, Henry said: “I will be honest, a lot. Because I knew I was going to meet Arsene again, but it’s also up to him.“If he was not there, I don’t know if Patrick Vieira would have gone there, if Emmanuel Petit would have gone, if Nicolas Anelka would have gone there.“Suddenly there was a massive following in France of Arsenal.“Before, it was Leeds because Eric Cantona went there, and then Newcastle because David Ginola went there.” silverware Ian Wright, the man Henry overtook as Arsenal’s leading goalscorer with two strikes at Sparta Prague in October 2005, was also a key figure.“I would also mention Wrighty (as an influence),” said Henry, recalling the 1992 FA Cup final where Wright, then a Crystal Palace player, tore Manchester United’s defence apart.“Because I saw Wrighty play that final, that was the first final that I saw. I wanted to know where that player went, and Wrighty went to Arsenal.“I also remember Arsenal knocking Paris Saint-Germain out in the European Cup and so I always had Arsenal in the back of my mind. possible standings 10 Henry became Arsenal’s record goalscorer by netting his 186th strike in Prague How Man United could line up for Newcastle clash – will Pogba start? 10 Henry left the club for Barcelona in 2007, and finally achieved his dream of winning the Champions League two years later Best clips, calls and talkSPORT moments of 2019, feat Hearn, McCoist and more Every Championship club’s best signing of the decade, including Taarabt and Dack 10 With Wenger in the dugout and Henry leading the line, Arsenal won the 2003/04 Premiership title without losing a single game Two league titles, three FA Cups and a devastating Champions League final defeat would follow, before Henry finally left the club in 2007 for Barcelona with his reputation sealed as perhaps the greatest striker in Arsenal’s illustrious history.A return in January 2012, complete with a beard and two years of somewhat pedestrian MLS football in his legs, threatened to damage that reputation.But on his first game back against Leeds United in the FA Cup, Henry, because of course he did, found himself through on goal after coming off the bench, and curled in a trademark finish to win yet another game with yet another golden moment.Without Wenger’s intervention on that night in Italy 13 years previously however, it could all have been so different. 10 How Arsenal could line up in Arteta’s first official game in charge – Ozil return? England’s most successful clubs of the past decade, according to trophies won Henry and Wenger shared a special bond at the club gameday center_img Tottenham v Brighton LIVE: talkSPORT commentary and team news for Boxing Day opener highlights 10 smart causal Every current Premier League club’s best kit from the past decade Thierry Henry has revealed the chance meeting between him and Arsene Wenger that changed the course of his career and convinced him to sign for Arsenal.The striker broke into the Monaco side as a 17-year-old shortly after Wenger left the principality club’s dugout, but it was after a game for Henry’s next club Juventus that the desire to play for his compatriot was sealed. Latest Football News impact A Champions League final defeat to Barcelona in Paris was Henry’s biggest regret at the club How the Premier League table could change after the Boxing Day fixtures ALTERED In the summer of 1999, Henry was just 12 months removed from winning the World Cup on home soil with France.His three goals at that tournament – all while still 18 – had earned himself a move to Italy with Juve, but the Italian style of play did not suit Henry, and he was shunted out wide instead.After just three goals in 19 games in Turin, his stock had collapsed – except in the eyes of one watching viewer.Wenger, who joined Arsenal three years previously, was on the look out for a player to replace the recently-departed Nicolas Anelka, who had joined Real Madrid for £25million. “He said ‘you are wasting your time, I remember you as a nine. It would be great if we can meet again.’“And the rest is history.”That history, now available word-for-word on demand from the mouths of adoring Arsenal fans, began with a £10.5m switch to north London.Eight goalless games had Gunners fans worried, but in the ninth, at the Dell against Southampton, he received the ball from Tony Adams with his back to goal, shrugged off a defender and thumped in from 25 yards. It was to be the first of 228 goals in Arsenal colours. NEW ERA 10 How Chelsea could line up against Southampton – what system will Lampard play? 10 “Arsene being there, all the French boys going to play for Arsenal, meeting them in the national team, them always saying ‘the Premiership is amazing’.“It was a combination of a lot of stuff but everything happened because of Arsene.”Wenger left Arsenal after 22 years this summer and brought a conveyor belt of exceptional talent through the doors at the club in his time.But in Henry he found the key piece of a side that would go on to become one of the best footballing teams in history, the first in 116 years to complete an English top-flight season unbeaten.Would any of it have been possible without that trip to Italy in 1999? Tottenham predicted XI to face Brighton with Mourinho expected to make big changes The club had recently lost Nicolas Anelka, but he was quickly forgotten when compatriot Henry netted 26 times in his debut season who plays? 10 And on a scouting mission to Italy, he stumbled on an old friend, who went from a forgotten man to the most feared striker in world football.Henry told Arsenal’s website: “We were playing Udinese, they had a good team and he had come to see the game, I don’t know who he came to see.I didn’t know he was at the stadium in all fairness but (later) I was going back to Paris where I’m from, a suburb of Paris, and he was on the same plane that I was.“We exchange numbers and he told me ‘I don’t know why you’re playing on the wing’, which at the time I was not actually, I was playing as a wing-back!last_img read more