After the Champions League match, Henry had an outburst against the referee and Barcelona players and declared that Mourinho had been right all along and that he’d “join him” now. Of course, what he meant by saying he’d join him was that he supports his criticisms of referees (or this particular referee, Terje Hauge) now that he himself had seen his team suffer from what he considers bad decisions. I don’t agree with some of the things he said, but I just find the outburst extraordinary.
Yes, the ref had a bad game, but that was because he was simply incompetent, not that he really favoured any side. For instance, in spite of Henry’s complaints about diving, the most blatant one was Eboue’s from which Campbell headed in his free-kick. I think rather than give such a showpiece game to a referee plying his trade in the unheralded Norwegian league, they should have given it to someone in the bigger European leagues who knows what this is about. The Lehmann decision wasn’t wrong in itself, because the man simply followed the letter of the law, but he should have used commonsense, considering that this was the final of the Champions League and everyone was tuned in for a great spectacle. Sending off someone that early in the game spoilt it for everyone, especially as it had started very brightly. He should have let Giuly’s goal stand, leave Lehmann on the pitch and carry on with the game.
But of more interest to me is that Henry rant, especially when he began to take a swipe at Ronaldinho and Eto’o, who’ve spent the whole build-up telling us how Henry’s their friend and how they’ll welcome him to the Nou Camp with open arms if he comes. Hmm, I wonder if Barcelona is still on his mind after the rant, or maybe he was just smarting from the defeat and would get over it and still go there. If he goes, I really don’t know how that locker-room will cope. These guys have huge egos and I don’t think they’ll all be playing happy family after this. On the other hand, the man proclaims that Mourinho has been right all along and that he was going to “join him” now (which, as I said means joining him to criticize the referees or agreeing with his criticisms of referees).
Now, this is giving me some ideas. I think Henry has made up his mind to leave Arsenal, but is yet to decide where to go. Barcelona were favourites before tonight, but he wouldn’t be eager to go there now even after he calms down. Henry is a very proud chap; he wouldn’t like to walk into a locker-room where everybody but him is a Champions League winner and at his own expense – against a team he led. And not after what he’d said tonight, even if he regrets it later. The guy is married to an English lady, Chelsea are a London team, the only team in England capable of matching his ambition and we badly need someone like him. He would be a fool to go to the Italian league now, especially with the scandals and uncertainty and more crucially, his first sojourn there was an unhappy one. So, if the Spanish idea is dead and the Italian one a no-no, where would he rather be if, as I presume, he’d made up his mind to leave Arsenal? Okay maybe there’s still Real Madrid, but would he want to go there with the instability still plaguing them?
I think Chelsea should explore the possibility of bringing him over. The decision of where he goes lies with him even if Arsenal are not going to be thrilled at the prospect of selling him to us, if he says he’d prefer to come to us, they won’t have any choice but take the money now. After all, they really need the money after the expenses of Emirates Stadium. They need the money to build up their squad for the next campaign. The alternative would be that Henry stays for the remaining one year of his contract and walks to us like Ballack on a free transfer.
After tonight, it’s possible. The guy may even be seeking a team capable of offering him an opportunity to avenge tonight if he gets the opportunity again against Barca. What better team than Chelsea? If the man is keen to leave Arsenal, I think we have a chance.