How Arsenal’s greatest ever duo are being groomed for a historic return

Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger has never seen the fanbase as divided as it currently is.

Some want to see the Frenchman sacked, while others have put more faith in him than ever and want to see the 66-year-old put pen to paper on the reported three year contract that is awaiting his signature.

Whether Wenger does decide to sign that new deal or not, it appears that the north London side are quietly preparing themselves for what comes next.


In the form of the club’s greatest ever strike duo: Dennis Bergkamp and Thierry Henry.


The two have scored a combined 348 goals between them and are the most beloved names that could ever wish to adorn the Arsenal shirt.

Despite no official announcement, it’s largely expected that Henry will become the club’s under-18 assistant manager next season – as revealed by Goal.com’s Arsenal correspondent Chris Wheatley – working alongside former player Kwame Ampadu.

The Frenchman has been working with the club’s youth sides over the last couple of seasons as a coach and was recently awarded his Uefa A license after completing it with the Welsh FA. The achievement means that the club’s greatest ever goalscorer will be able to manage at any level below the Premier League.

Although not yet contracted by the club to work for the under-18s next season, Henry has become familiar with the youth sides after putting in work in the training ground with the next generation of Gunners hopefuls.


Henry has been touted to become manager of the club one day and has even sparked rumours that he could be the man to take over from Wenger at the end of next season. But it’s not that simple. The Sky Sports pundit is well aware that just like becoming a top class centre forward, if he wants to move into top-flight management, he must learn the basics inside out.

As a footballer, the 38-year-old worked under the tutelage of amongst the greatest ever football managers, including both Pep Guardiola and Arsene Wenger himself.

Henry understands what it will take for him to become the manager of the club, he, more than anyone else, understands the philosophy that Arsenal are all about. Pass and move, impressive and classy football.

The Wenger way has gifted Arsenal with some of their best ever football, namely nicknamed ‘Wenger ball’ – but what the Frenchman has, at times, been criticised of lacking in is defensive nouse. With the boss once managing the likes of Tony Adams and Martin Keown, he can be forgiven for the club’s recent woes in terms of leaking goals. It didn’t happen while Henry was at the club and it won’t happen should he make his return. The ex-Barcelona star was well revered for his ability to pick the ball up from the left and cut inside his opponents to devastating effect. Which means that he understands how to stop the threat.

Under-21 left back Marc Bola, speaking to the club’s official website, confirmed that Henry has more than enough of an idea as to how to stop attackers.

Having Thierry Henry as a coach is very helpful for me as a left back because he draws on his experience to drill into us what we should do that attackers do not like.

Henry, as he was in his partnership with Bergkamp – likes to be the leading man, he wants to have his name up in lights and is happy to take the starring role.

His partner in Bergkamp – quite the support act, however, has confirmed that he has no intentions of becoming a manager at the top level but is currently the assistant manager of Dutch giants and ex-club Ajax.

The best thing for me is being on the pitch [in training], especially with the strikers. That’s my kind of thing, to really teach them things that are the details of football.

How to control a ball, how to shoot a ball, how to pass it, how to look for other players. That’s my main thing.

Therefore my ambition is not really to be a head coach, to be the top coach. I give my opinion and tell [the other coaches] how I feel about it. But in the end there’s a head coach who decides what is happening. My part is more on the pitch with the players, especially with the strikers.

The 46-year-old centre forward was arguably the classiest footballer to ever put on an Arsenal shirt and is the man who made his teammates tick, he made football look effortless and understands exactly what it means to play for the north London side.

Bergkamp, while not opting to stay with Arsenal post-retirement, has been working with Dutch legend Frank de Boer and between the two, they have re-introduced the European giants to the style of football that the club become so well renowned for.

The ex-Arsenal striker is, in his own way and at the club where it all started for him, is, like Henry, learning how to guide players into becoming the best based on their own experiences. The flying Dutchman has been in the role for five years but has confirmed that he wants to make a return to Arsenal as part of the coaching staff – as so many other club legends have done in recent years.

My personal ambition is to maybe come to Arsenal one day – to do the role I am doing at Ajax.

[I want] to educate the younger players, to be part of the coaching staff and make players better.

While the two were voted Arsenal’s no.1 and no.2 greatest ever players by supporters, the schooling that they are currently receiving by their respective clubs could see them return as the deadly duo that they once were and be the main subjects of the fairytale that so many are hoping for.

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6 years ago

The record of outstanding footballers making great coaches and managers is not so impressive. There’s a theory that their expectations of players not as good as they were are unrealistic which leads to underperformance by those players who are left feeling inadequate.


[…] scored 120 goals in 423 appearances for the north London side and could go on to reunite with partner-in-crime Henry as the two leading men of Arsenal once […]

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