In Depth

Should Thierry Henry become Wenger's Arsenal apprentice?

Henry will 'certainly' return to the Emirates, but if he wants to coach he should learn from Guardiola

Former Arsenal legend Thierry Henry seems destined to return to the Emirates after his career with the New York Red Bulls came to an end this week.

Gunners boss Arsene Wenger has hailed the club's record scorer as "an Arsenal man" and insisted that Henry would "certainly" come back to the club in some capacity.

Although he is now 37 there is talk of Henry seeing out his playing days with the Gunners, although it is the prospect of the Frenchman taking up a coaching role at the Emirates that has created the biggest buzz, with the Evening Standard reporting that bookmakers have slashed the odds on Henry succeeding Wenger as manager.

Wenger appears to believe that Henry has a career in the dugout ahead of him, if he wants it. "Thierry has all the qualities [to be a coach] because he is intelligent, committed, he loves the game. He just has to think: 'Do I want to sacrifice all the rest of my life to be involved in that job?'"

Henry, too, seems set on an Arsenal return. The Daily Mirror notes that as soon as his contract with the Bulls expired he changed his Twitter and Facebook cover photos to images of the Emirates.

The paper adds that in an interview with L'Equipe in France, Henry described Arsenal as "my club" and added that, although he had not decided on his future, "one thing is certain: I will stay in football, as a coach, a consultant or executive".

But is the idea of Henry becoming Wenger's apprentice a good one?

"As a notion it is as romantic as footballing reunions come," writes Liam Twomey for Goal.com, noting Henry has several times confirmed his ambition to one day manage Arsenal.

But he counsels the Frenchman against learning his trade at the Emirates, while proving that every analysis of Arsenal's future these days must be projected through the prism of Wenger's perceived managerial failings.

"If Henry wants to one day succeed Wenger, he can't afford to be his protege," argues Twomey. "Wedding himself to his former mentor's vision and methodology would simply condemn the Gunners to further frustration in the biggest competitions and risk tainting the hero status of one of the club’s favourite sons – if he were even to get the opportunity."

Instead, says Twomey, Henry would be better off serving his apprenticeship under Pep Guardiola – "a man still accustomed to pushing the boundaries of the sport".

"Working under Guardiola would put Henry in a position to combine the expansive passing style now expected at Arsenal with the tactical invention and rigour now seemingly beyond Wenger."

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