Sky Sports seemed to kickstart Thierry Henry’s bid for Arsenal manager with a not-so-subtle message after Arsenal’s shambles against Manchester City at Wembley.
Henry has never shied away from admitting that he would love the chance to take over the manager’s job at Arsenal and the former frontman, despite his lack of experience, is said to be Josh Kroenke’s choice to take over at the club.
The timing of what happened on Sky Sports is important because it comes at a time when Josh Kroenke is actually at the club, undertaking a three-month extensive evaluation of the state of every department.
So what happened and why does it smack of PR?
After the match, Sky Sports were doing their usual post-match analysis.
Henry stuck to the mechanics of the goals conceded and was very measured in his criticism, something that is not always the case.
Then Jamie Redknapp and Craig Bellamy tore into Arsenal as a club, offering criticism few could argue with. Strangely, Henry sat back in his chair and did not join in at any point.
“This has gone on for too long now, it’s getting boring,” Redknapp said.
“I feel sorry for the fans. It’s boring. This is the problem we always talk about Arsenal. The defending was so bad (for the Aguero goal).”
He then carried on as Bellamy joined in, showing that he knows only three top class managers in world football, before Redknapp piped up again, saying Henry should be the manager:
Thierry Henry being put on the spot and asked if he would like to be Arsenal's next manager (part 1) #AFC pic.twitter.com/n0G1k3QfrY
— Joe Copson (@joe_copson) February 25, 2018
But he didn’t just say it once and let it go. He repeated it. And then Kelly Cates picked it up and pushed until Henry gave an answer.
“Wow, you put me on the spot like this!” Henry exclaimed with what seemed like a huge hint of faux modesty and surprise.
“I still have a job to do with Belgium. It would be a dream for me, but I’m still with Belgium.
“Interested? Interested yes. Who wouldn’t be? But I can’t talk about that because of my respect for the man that is in charge still and the job I am doing right now with Belgium – but who wouldn’t be interested?”
Enough respect for him to say that you are ‘interested’ in his job three times and admit it would be a dream?
I am under no illusion that Wenger needs to leave the club for Arsenal to have any chance of turning themselves around.
But as great a player as Henry was, let’s not forget he would not forgo his Sky Sports commentary salary to learn his coaching trade with the club. He has zero experience as a manager, and only 18 months experience as a coach with Belgium.
The only way he gets the Arsenal job is if he is forced on the club by the Kroenkes.
With Josh moving to London for three months to try and get a handle on this shambles, that idea might not seem as crazy to them as it should and, to me, this all smacked of the start of a campaign to put Henry right in the frame for the job.