The first of ten possible Arsene Wenger replacements is also our most improbable candidate. We begin our countdown to the most-likely Wenger replacement today with a name familiar around the club, Thierry Henry.
Brief managerial background: Nothing. Nada. Zip. Zilch.
In a nutshell, he's probably the least qualified realistic person to take over Arsenal from Arsene Wenger. He's not even formally retired as a player yet, for goodness sake.
Is there an Arsenal connection? Um, yes.
Does he have a connection to Arsene Wenger? Um, yes.
Pros: He's freaking Thierry Henry. Along with his former teammate Dennis Bergkamp, he's arguably the greatest player to ever wear the Arsenal shirt. Plus there's little doubt that Henry would abandon the style of play and general tactics Wenger's implemented - a style he greatly-benefited from - which wouldn't mean there'd be too big of a roster upheaval if he took over control.
Cons: Well, he's Thierry Henry. As anyone who's followed his career knows, he's a bit of a prickly bastard when his fellow teammates don't do their job correctly, and he's demonstrated a lack of patience with players who don't adhere to his high expectations.
Some of the greatest players in their respective sports have largely failed when they've attempted to enter the managerial realm mainly because they think their players should be able to duplicate their efforts and success during their legendary playing days. Further, Henry currently doesn't appear to be the type of personality that can take on the individual management of different types of players in order to bring them all together as one, cohesive team. Of course, if he ends up joining Wenger's coaching staff in the near future, this is something he's bound to get an education on. Just because he appears incapable now doesn't mean he'll always be unable to do such a thing, but as of now this large part of being a manager is a giant unknown in regards to Henry.
Overall assessment: Henry could very well become manager of Arsenal at some point. The Romford Pele said last week that "...one day, if he really wants to be a manager, he will be manager of Arsenal." People close to him, including Arsene Wenger, haven't been shy in predicting his next career path after his departure from New York Red Bulls, and virtually everyone has pointed Henry towards Arsenal and an eventual management role.
In the spirit of what this series is about, though, he's the least-likely Arsene Wenger replacement. There is literally nothing to suggest he'd be qualified to manage Macclesfield Town, let alone Arsenal. He's a name, and a name only, at this point. He's got a long way to go to force the decision-makers to consider he'd be worthy to lead the club after Wenger steps aside. And, truth be told, there are many other managers who are more likely, and capable, to replace Wenger than Henry at the moment. But recent news, along with the odds of Henry's appointment as manager being slashed to near-unbelievable levels, has brought us here to bring his name up only to dismiss him as a realistic candidate.
We largely agree that we'd rather have Henry in some sort of role at Arsenal versus not having him at the club. Again, he's freaking Thierry Henry. He's just not ready to take over from Arsene Wenger. If he dedicates himself to transforming the mindset and type of communication he's developed over twenty years as a player into one befitting of a manager, there might come a day when he able to lead the club. However, that day won't be when Wenger departs.
In tomorrow's Life After Arsene, we profile yet another familiar face around Arsenal, a face that is just as unlikely as Thierry Henry to replace Arsene Wenger.