The name of Thierry Henry is one of the most recognised in world football. The World Cup and European Championship winning striker is second only to Lillan Thuram as the most capped French footballer of all time with 123 caps for France and leads the ways in goals scored with 51 to his name, 10 ahead of French legend Michael Platini and 20 ahead of Just Fontaine. Whilst his time on the international stage has now come to an end following his retirement after the 2010 World Cup, Henry continues to play at club level and is now in his fourth season in the MLS with New York Red Bulls. But as Henry’s contract reaches its end, the former Juventus, Arsenal and Barcelona frontman is surveying his options ahead of one final swansong. With a variety of offers including lucrative moves to the Middle East, China and India on the table, it would appear that Henry has his heart set on a switch back to his homeland, with champions Paris Saint Germain and Monaco leading a chasing pack.
At 37 questions will be asked about whether Henry can cope with life back in Frances top division but one man has no doubts that he can. Former Liverpool boss Gerard Houllier, now technical director at New York Red Bulls believes Henry still can compete with the best and at the highest level. He is desperate for Henry to stay with the MLS side but knows that his chances are slim given Henry’s desire for one final challenge. Returning to France would suit the former French internationalist rather than moving back to London with Arsenal where arguably Henry made his name. The news will come as a bitter blow to Arsenal fans who would love to see their former star return to the club for a third time. Henry became a legend in his first spell, scoring 174 goals in 256 games helping Arsenal to two Premiership titles along the way. Whilst he hasn’t ruled out a sensational return to the Emirates, Henry appears to be thinking more about another former club Monaco rather than Arsenal. It was in the south of France at the small principality club that Henry first emerged as a then speedy winger. The manager at that time was Arsene Wenger who would sell the player to Juventus before buying him back for Arsenal and converting him into one of the best strikers the game has ever seen. Henry spent eight years at Arsenal before being sold to Barcelona and then eventually to New York Red Bulls as a marquee signing.
Like David Beckham in Los Angeles, Henry’s arrival in the Big Apple was heralded as a momentous moment in the club and league’s history. He has since gone on to showcase to the US soccer fans how the beautiful game can be played with a series of dazzling performances making him one of the best players in the league. Contrary to popular belief, it was Henry’s move rather than Beckham’s that convinced many others like Robbie Keane and Tim Cahill to move to the US by showing them that the league was a desirable place to play in their prime rather than simply in their retirement years. The league has benefited massively from Henry’s presence with crowds growing in both New York and in away grounds where Henry was playing. But with all good things, eventually this must come to an end with Henry departing to pastures new. A January transfer back to France is likely but to which club is yet to be decided. He may follow in Beckham’s footsteps by joining PSG and in turn getting one final chance at the Champions League but he may also opt to follow his heart back to his old club Monaco. That is unless his old mentor Arsene Wenger has a say and convinces Henry that his final season should be spent back in his other homeland with a return to Arsenal.
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