Thierry Henry dragged into Arsenal power struggle

Dec 14, 2012
Bill Mann

Usmanov wants former Gunner to be given 'more important role' than short-term fill-in striker

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ARSENAL are in danger of imploding after another day of drama at the crisis-hit club. As the fallout from Tuesday's stunning defeat to Bradford continues to reverberate around the Emirates, a power struggle appears to be taking place in the boardroom.

According to the Daily Mirror, Uzbekistan tycoon Alisher Usmanov, who owns a 29 per cent stake in the club, has said Thierry Henry should be given a "more important role" at the club rather than merely returning next month on a short-term loan from the New York Red Bulls.

If that wasn't contentious enough, honorary vice-president Lady Nina Bracewell-Smith took to Twitter to vent her frustration at the way the club is being run. Bracewell-Smith sold her 15.9 per cent stake in Arsenal to majority shareholder Stan Kroenke, but clearly she isn't impressed with the American millionaire's approach to his new interest.

"If making money was motivating factor, surely better ways," blasted her Ladyship on Twitter. "Football is a business of passion and SK (Stan Kroenke) has no passion for AFC."

It's Usmanov comments, however, that will most trouble Kroenke, who has a 62.8 per cent stake in Arsenal following his acquisition of Bracewell-Smith's shares in April 2011. The Mirror says he "is still trying to launch a takeover of the club" and he has apparently invited Henry and his agent, Darren Dein, son of former Arsenal vice-chairman David Dein, to Moscow where it is believed he wishes to talk about the direction he thinks the Gunners should be going.

"I don't have any powers in terms of decisions at the club but there are a few players with whom I am in contact," Usmanov admitted to the Mirror. "Thierry should be involved at the club but not as a player. He has another role to play, a more important role."

Usmanov added that he believed Henry should be employed by Arsenal in a role similar to that of Patrick Vieira at Manchester City, where he acts as a Football Development Executive. "The presence of a champion can radically change the soul of a team," said Usmanov.

Meanwhile, just 24 hours after we reported that Pep Guardiola was "keen" to take over the helm at Arsenal, the Mirror claims Arsene Wenger could be on his way to Real Madrid at the end of the season. The paper claims the Frenchman is on the club's shortlist to replace Jose Mourinho, who is expected to quit the Bernabeu in May.

Real president Florentino Perez is said to be a "long-standing admirer" of Wenger and would like him installed as coach. In which case, let's hope for Wenger's sake that Señor Perez labours under the misapprehension that Bradford are one of the powerhouses of English football.

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She shouldnt have sold her shares to him then. I dislike the man on every level but she should have seen with his track record that he wouldn't bring arsenal forward in anyway.

Lady Nina Bracewell-Smith should have sold her shares to Usmanov. What a bad decision she took selling them to SK. :(

I would like to think one day after he retires and maybe gets his coaching badges he could become a great Arsenal manager, i don't think it's beyond the realms of reality, He loves Arsenal and the supporters love him, he has given so much to the club and you feel that sincerity from him, i'm certain he always checks the arsenal result no matter where he is. He has to much to provide the game way beyond his playing days, as much as it is to lose great players when they reach retirement age, another is Dennis Bergkamp already assistant manager at Ajax if i'm not mistaken, another who could potentially become a great Arsenal manager of the future.