Arteta, Edu praised for bringing back ‘the Arsenal I know’ as Henry weighs up title hopes

Former Arsenal striker Thierry Henry at the French Open Credit: Alamy
Former Arsenal striker Thierry Henry at the French Open Credit: Alamy

Thierry Henry has praised Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta and sporting director Edu for transforming the culture at the club.

Arsenal are currently top of the Premier League having accumulated 54 points from 23 matches this season.

The Gunners are putting in an unexpected title bid and Arteta deserves a lot of praise for the work he is doing.

Club legend Henry has been critical of the Spanish manager in the past but the pair appear to be on good terms these days.

The Frenchman did praise Arteta for the job he was doing very early on in his tenure, lauding the former captain for creating an “identity” following Unai Emery’s difficult stint in charge.

Henry criticised Arteta for taking Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang off with ten minutes remaining while 3-2 down at Manchester United in 2021 and was also unhappy at the Spaniard for loaning “extraordinary” William Saliba to Marseille.

Now that Arsenal are challenging Manchester City for their Premier League crown, the ex-France striker has praised Arteta for how he has transformed the club.

“You could see there was a little disconnection with the fans,” Henry said on CBS Sports House of Champions podcast.

“All the fans wanted is to relate to the team, a team that can compete. They didn’t boo the team on Wednesday, [defeats] happen, fans can understand that.

“What fans don’t understand is when they don’t see a team that fights.

“They don’t see themselves in a team that doesn’t represent the community. Edu, the board, Mikel Arteta, whoever, however you want to call it, brought that back.

“Are we going to win the league? I don’t know. But it looks like the Arsenal I know. At the end of the day, you can’t fool fans, they scream, they’re there and they have that attitude because they see something, that’s why they’re loud. It’s a different emotion.”

During the worst of times under Arteta, Henry and former teammates Patrick Vieira and Dennis Bergkamp reportedly joined forces with Spotify founder Daniel Ek in an attempt to buy the club from Stan Kroenke.

While there are still some Gunners fans strongly against the Kroenkes, there is not as much of a desire to see ownership change after Stan backed Arteta in the transfer market.

Josh Kroenke is also heavily involved in proceedings at the Emirates and has been a much more visible presence over the last year or two.

Henry discussed the potential bid with Ek and actually admitted that “everything is ok” at the club now.

“At the time [Ek] wanted to offer a solution to the fans, who were all saying ‘sell, sell, sell’ but sell to who,” Henry said.

“We offered a solution, it wasn’t meant to be. I’m an Arsenal fan, let’s win. It doesn’t matter. We were there to offer a solution, you want it, you don’t want it, it doesn’t matter.

“Now everything is ok, why would anyone want to disturb anything [by changing owners]? It’s all I wanted. Whether it was me in or me out I wanted Arsenal to be successful. That’s the main point.”

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