Football players, like the rest of us, get older. So there comes a time when the club doesn’t want them anymore, they’re too old to keep pace, or when the club’s ambition outstrips the player’s ability. For that reason, we have to face the fact that eventually our favourite players won’t be at the club. Tony Adams, Dennis Bergkamp, Ian Wright… all have departed.
With this in mind, I knew that Thierry Henry wouldn’t be at Arsenal for ever. I also know that contracts mean very little these days, other than the fact that players can’t transfer for free. Anyone who believes it will ensure they stay at a club is a bit dopey. So with a heavy heart I have to face the fact that Thierry’s ambition seems to have outstripped the club’s ambition. £16 million seems a bit cheap, even if he is nearly 30… we’re talking about the best player in the world. He’s worth five Wayne Rooneys.
What really concerns me is not just the gap he’ll leave, but whether it might prompt some of the other players to head for the door – in particular rising star Cesc Fabregas who is said to be discontented. Man Yoo have already started their Summer spendathon, Chelsea will open their fat cheque book soon, and Liverpool have new backers. Arsenal had better spend that £16 million wisely, otherwise 4th place will be an even harder-fought position in this coming season. Failing to get into the Champions’ League could have real bad repercussions.
Thierry, thanks for all you did. Your contribution during the glory years was too great to create any bitterness now. The Premiership is poorer for your departure.