Hey, everybody, Thierry Henry is training at Arsenal!
This isn't out of the ordinary, as he's trained with his former club before, even going on loan with them after the 2011 MLS season, and regularly visits. But that doesn't stop people from worrying/hoping he'll make a winter loan move to the North London side.
Case in point, this, from NBC's Pro Soccer Talk blog with the headline "Thierry Henry back training at Arsenal... cue talk of an MLS offseason loan" quite literally cueing up talk of an MLS offseason loan.
But could it not for once? Please?
Everyone knows Henry loves Arsenal. Everyone knows he's welcome back seemingly whenever he wants. Everyone, especially fish tank enthusiasts, know he's got a place in London. That doesn't mean Henry, at the age of 36, wants a loan.
In fact, Pro Soccer Talk Jon Prince-Wright makes a half-decent case for why he shouldn't go on loan, before completely renegging on his argument by closing his post with an eye roll-inducing "Nah, it won't happen...will it." simultaneously sewing the seeds of hope and doubt. Wonderful.
You have to think to yourself, why would Henry risk being seen in a lesser light by those adoring fans and ruin the image they had of him from 1999 until 2007 when he left for FC Barcelona? He's not that daft. Henry's also a realist and knows that he could get away with a brief cameo in 2012 after his second MLS season and Champions League success with Barca was fresh in his mind. But making a loan move now is a different question.
His time with the Red Bulls has shown his creative side flourish but the pace, aggression and direct play he was known for in his prime at Arsenal has diminished somewhat in recent years.
He also misses the bigger picture, here. That Henry, in the twilight of his career -- he has one year left on his contract with the Red Bulls -- needs to be managed. In his end-of-season conference call Head Coach Mike Petke made it clear he thinks Henry is still one of the league's best players, but needs to be managed with all the milage he's got on those legs, including playing the most games and minutes since coming into the league in 2010.
And that's why Henry won't be making a return to Arsenal: Even if he wanted to, it's unlikely the Red Bulls wouldn't let him go.