Thierry Henry could give management another go at Real Betis after Rafa Benitez turned down the chance to return to Spain.
Rafa Benitez’s future at Newcastle seems like it has been the subject of constant speculation ever since he took the job in 2016.
He is said to be in talks with Mike Ashley and a departure is still a possibility – his contract expires at the end of June – but the Spaniard is also said to believe he has better options than Betis should he quit the Magpies.
That means Betis are still looking for a new manager and Thierry Henry’s name has entered the fray despite his poor showing at Monaco.
If you’re feeling confused, it’s not surprising.
Football is one of only a few industries that seems to reward failure.
Henry had zero club management experience when he was handed the Monaco job and, after lasting only three months and 20 games (with just 4 wins) in France is now being linked with another top-level job despite doing nothing since being sacked that hints at him learning his trade adequately.
Henry was recently also linked with a move to Anderlecht as one of 12 applicants for the role even though the club are at the centre of a money-laundering probe and were in fifth place in the six-team Championship round of their league and in danger of missing out on Europe for the first time in 55 years at the time.
In the end, they finished bottom of the Championship round with just one win from 10 games. What did Henry think he could bring to that role to save them after his Monaco showing?
Last summer there was a real groundswell of opinion that Thierry Henry should be welcomed back at Arsenal as our new manager to replace Arsene Wenger.
It didn’t matter that it would mean replacing Arsenal’s most experienced and successful manager with one with zero experience; pundits, fans and, reportedly, Josh Kroenke, all wanted the Frenchman.
I don’t think anyone expected Henry’s managerial debut at Monaco to go quite as badly as it did, a 5-1 humiliation at the hands of Strasbourg the last straw. But there was nothing to indicate it would go well, either, unless you think a few months putting out cones for Roberto Martinez is enough experience to take on a top European job.
Henry wants to be Arsenal manager. Of that, there is absolutely no doubt.
Not only has he said it repeatedly, while also mouthing platitudes at the same time about not disrespecting the current manager, he also had his pals at Sky Sports push that agenda too.
If Arsenal asked for his help, he said, he would, of course, have to say yes.
Except that’s not really true, is it?
“Listen, I’m a competitor, you don’t back down from a challenge,” Henry said.
“We are hypothetically speaking before people jump ahead of everything, [but] I have never backed down from a challenge since I was young.
“If you love a place and they ask — I repeat, they ask — for help, you are always going to say yes
“If I had listened to people who were talking about where I was going to be, I would not have been here.
“When I arrived at Arsenal, they said to me, ‘Why are you outside of the box, you will never score goals?’ with my position being on the left or whatever it was. You don’t back down from a challenge, you always think that you can.
“When I came back to play for Arsenal, everybody, all my friends were saying, ‘It can only tarnish your legacy, why are you going back there?’
“If you love a place and they ask — I repeat, they ask — for help, you are always going to say yes. What I am saying to you is again, we are talking about hypothetical thoughts.”
Arsenal not only asked Henry to return but offered him a coaching position.
A private club, as Henry should know, they had one stipulation – that he give up his role as a pundit on Sky Sports that often saw him have to criticise the very club he would be working for and the players he would be interacting with on a regular basis.
Henry then took up an assistant role with the Belgian national team. Not a club side, but a national one that meets far less frequently and comes with much more free time for, well, punditing, I guess.
Henry claims he wants to be a top manager, but what is he doing to show he deserves the role or even that he is desperate to get it?
He seems to believe that because he was a playing legend that gives him some sort of right to top positions, but it doesn’t work like that. Or, at least, it shouldn’t.
The world’s best GP can’t become a surgeon just because she fancies a go at the job. She has to undergo further training, gain valuable experience under the guidance of those who have been doing it for years, and show some sort of desire to be good at the job.
Henry may well go on to be a world-class manager, but there is not one single thing you can point to with any certainty that says he will.
I also get the sense that for Henry this is less about learning a trade than it is about his own ego and that never, ever ends well.