Clearly, if you have the best striker in Europe – let’s be honest here – then he’s going to be the subject of speculation regarding a move, regardless of whether he goes blue in the face claiming he’d never leave.
And that’s the situation we’ve got with Thierry, who’s been linked on and off with Barcelona, and now Real Madrid. I’m not sweating over this one. I mean, I’ve been linked with doing some DIY for the entire duration of the summer, and it hasn’t happened yet. What is more, I can confirm that any rumours of me performing home improvements are so wide of the mark as to be laughable. It’s just press rumours.
Besides, if Thierry was to be sold against his will, it would be akin to the ravens leaving the Tower of London. The highbury monarchy would fall. There’s one thing being linked with a move if a player actually wants to leave, but a crown jewel player being sold against his will – well it just doesn’t happen at Arsenal.
But if you think about it, it’s a clever way of tapping up without doing it illegally – let a potential target know you’re interested by feeding some ex-club official or other random semi-official figure some juicy soundbites, and release them to the press. That way, Mr T Henry would know Real Madrid are interested in him, but a meeting in a top London hotel between all interested parties, with all the predictable results, need not be arranged.
And finally, I was just wondering the other day what the money men at Arsenal, Man U and Everton must really think about the financial reality of Liverpool’s (justified) inclusion in the Champions League. Whichever way you look at it, if all five English sides get to the group stages, then we’ll be out of pocket by a not inconsiderable sum of cash – several million pounds, possibly. This might not bother the Russians, but it’s a lot of cash for us.