Thierry Henry gives his verdict on Arsenal’s January transfers.
Arsenal have made headlines in the winter transfer window with Alexis Sanchez, Theo Walcott and Olivier Giroud departing north London, while Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Henrikh Mkhitaryan have arrived on long-term deals.
Henry, Arsenal’s all-time record goalscorer, has shared his thoughts on their transfer business.
Signing Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang
I’m a big fan of Aubameyang and what he’s done at Borussia Dortmund. But they’re losing in and around 180 goals and 70 assists. Is Aubameyang going to do what he’s supposed to do and what he does all the time? I think he will but I always talk about the supporting cast and what you will lose with Giroud is a guy who can score goals off the bench.
I’m happy as an Arsenal fan that we have attracted Aubameyang and it looks like Ozil is going to stay, but we’re losing Sanchez and Giroud. We’ll see what those guys are going to bring to Arsenal, but it’s a great, great guy to have around Aubameyang.
Mkhitaryan’s partnership with Aubameyang
I hope that’s what they were thinking about, Arsenal. Aubameyang played with Mkhitaryan so they know about each other and how they play and go about it. I think it’s a great thing that you can have two guys coming from two different clubs that have already played with each other and they know each other really well.
The only thing I’m thinking is we always talk about supporting cast and it’s better to have two strikers and three and four guys that can help, but where does Lacazette fit into that? He was like the next best thing and came with a big transfer fee like Aubameyang too, so hopefully they can play at times together up front.
In my day we played a rigid, flat 4-4-2 and that was it. I don’t think Arsene will go back to that but why not? Sometimes when Giroud came on as a sub, Lacazette moved out to play on the right or left. I don’t think he’ll do it at the beginning of a game but why not going back to two up front? I don’t know if he’ll do it but why not.
Giroud’s transfer to Chelsea
We all knew it was going to be a matter of when that domino effect started with Aubameyang coming to Arsenal that allowed Giroud and Batshuayi to go. It’s a weird one because you felt yesterday when he went to clap the Swansea fans you could sense there was something a bit more to him, clapping for them travelling all the way to Swansea.
I thought he did what he had to do for Arsenal but on the other side the World Cup is coming, Chelsea are coming for you and they’re ahead of Arsenal at the minute. Arsene is not playing you sometimes, Welbeck is in front of you and Lacazette has arrived and is in front of you. A lot of players went in front of him so I cannot fault him or be upset with him for going to Chelsea when he’s not playing at Arsenal.
The way he likes to play suits very much the way Antonio Conte likes to play. He likes a target man with a brain that can get into the box to receive the crosses of the wing-backs. I wish him all the very best but we lost at Arsenal a supporting cast, as I like to call them, of the guys coming off the bench.
It will be weird seeing him with the blue shirt on, even though it is like the French kit. I was used to seeing the famous red and white of Arsenal on him. Everybody could see it was going to happen.
One thing I would like to say is that there’s nothing you can say about his commitment. What I like the most is, it’s not like he wanted to go to Chelsea. No disrespect to Chelsea in any way, but it’s happened. You can’t have a go at him for trying to play a bit before the World Cup for a good team. All the very best. I hope people are not going to say anything bad about him because he does not deserve that.
Have Arsenal done enough business?
Alexis Sanchez was always going to be like that [leave]. If not he was always going to leave on a free which is not what you want. You want something in return and we got Mkhitaryan. You lose Sanchez, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Giroud, Walcott but you got some people in return. You got Aubameyang, Mkhitaryan. I like the fact those guys have played together before so I think that can be a plus, most definitely.