Thierry Henry’s first job as manager of a soccer team could be at one of his old stomping grounds.
Reports out of France and England have stated that the Arsenal legend is the favorite to be named the new manager of Monaco, after the club on the French Riviera sacked manager Leonardo Jardim following a poor start to the Ligue Un season. According to one report, Henry received encouragement to take the job from former Les Bleus teammate and current France National Team coach Didier Deschamps, though the report states there are still some details to iron out.
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Henry was subject of constant rumors and reports that he may take over at Aston Villa following Steve Bruce‘s dismissal, but the job eventually went to Dean Smith (no relation to the North Carolina basketball coach, as far as we know).
Since retiring in 2014 after four and a half seasons with the New York Red Bulls, Henry has held multiple coaching (and punditry) positions, mostly as a youth team coach at Arsenal working with different age levels. In 2016, he joined Roberto Martinez as an assistant coach with Belgium, and it was clear that he had the respect from Belgium’s star players during the 2018 World Cup. Since the World Cup, it’s seemed that Henry was looking for a full manager position either in England or abroad, but he was playing his cards close to the vest and waiting for the best opportunity.
Now two years off winning the Ligue 1 title under Jardim and with a squad that’s been decimated by sales across Europe, Monaco has struggled immensly this season. The club currently sit in the relegation zone in 18th place, with just six points out of its first nine games. The home loss to Rennes last weekend was the final straw after a ten-game winless and four-game losing streak at the start of this season that signaled the end of Jardim’s tenure.
Henry of course has plenty of history at Monaco. It’s the club where he first became a professional after graduating through the Clairfontaine and Monaco youth system, and he played a role as a left midfielder or left winger in Monaco’s 1996-1997 Ligue 1 title. He was also named France’s Young Player of the Year. His performances in Ligue 1 and the UEFA Champions League helped get him into the France National Team, where he joined Deschamps as World Cup winners on home soil in 1998.
If Henry gets the job, he’ll need time as he has a major rebuilding job at hand. Two of the club’s stars, captain Radamel Falcao and goalkeeper Danijel Subasic are both on the wrong side of 30, and vice-captain Kamil Glik is 30-years-old currently. Defensively, the club has only kept one clean sheet in the last ten games and some of the new signings, Nacer Chadli, Antonio Barecca and Aleksandr Golovin have failed to produce as expected.