It is less than a month to the anniversary of Thierry Henry's first game as a loan player at Arsenal when, as a 68th-minute substitute for Marouane Chamakh, he scored the winning goal in the FA Cup third-round tie against Leeds United and the Emirates went berserk.
It was an injury-time winner against a Championship team in the last competition Arsenal had a realistic chance of winning. Yes, it had been scored by arguably the club's greatest player, but as for season-defining moments it was not even in the top four. Those were the 8-2 defeat to Manchester United in August; the League Cup elimination at home to Manchester City; the 4-0 tonking away to Milan that did for the Champions League hopes; and the fifth-round FA Cup defeat to Sunderland.
Next month, he is coming back again – a case of Henry the First, Part III. Not just coming back for January but, if Henry gets his way, until the end of the season if he obtains the permission of the New York Red Bulls. What a bad idea.
He may yet add to that total of 228 goals for the club. He may even score a winner like that one against Leeds and the Emirates can party like it is 2004 again. He will offer some cover for Gervinho, away at the African Nations. But it will say a great deal about Arsenal, a club that pines for the past but is struggling with the present.
Bringing back Henry, below, would be one more small acceptance that Arsenal have failed to move on from the better times he represents. There has to be a better option than a 35-year-old, however talented, who is strolling through his last years in a substandard American league.
It brings to mind Sir Alex Ferguson's old analogy of Manchester United being, for players, "a bus that is always moving" and which waits for no one. Once you get left behind, you are never invited back on.
At Arsenal, the metaphorical bus does not plough on, rather it doubles back, like an airport shuttle winding its way around a car park for the umpteenth time.
Great players like Henry deserve a place at the club. It is watching from the stand or, in his case, immortalised in bronze outside as well.
As Arsenal head to Reading tonight after six days from hell since elimination at the hands of Bradford in the Capital One Cup on Tuesday night, there are 101 reasons to pick holes. Even so, the picture is still not completely clear. How much does Arsène Wenger really have to spend? Could Ivan Gazidis be right: will Uefa's financial fair play have such sharp teeth that, by the start of the 2014-2015 season, his club will be one of the five strongest in world football? Why have they lost their edge?
Wenger's contacts and foresight to identify and sign top-level foreign players meant that Arsenal took the game by storm for almost 10 years from when he started in 1996. Now the rest have wised up and caught up.
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