Arsenal great Thierry Henry has declared his readiness to replace under-fire manager Arsene Wenger at the north London club.
Henry said he would not “back down from a challenge” if a vacancy arose, but still wants his former mentor to have the “last word” on an Arsenal career that started back in 1996.
Wenger’s position at Arsenal was further weakened with the damaging defeat away to Brighton and Howe Albion on Sunday – a result that left them a huge 13 points adrift of the top four.
Asked if he would take the Arsenal job should the opportunity arise, the former France forward, who now works as an assistant to Belgium manager Roberto Martinez, said: “Listen, I’m a competitor, you don’t back down from a challenge.”
“We are hypothetically speaking before people jump ahead of everything, (but) I have never backed down from a challenge since I was young.
“If I had listened to people who were talking about where I was going to be, I would not have been here.
“When I arrived at Arsenal, they said to me, ‘Why are you outside of the box, you will never score goals?’ with my position being on the left or whatever it was. You don’t back down from a challenge, you always think that you can.
“When I came back to play for Arsenal, everybody, all my friends were saying, ‘It can only tarnish your legacy, why are you going back there?’.”
“If you love a place and they ask – I repeat, they ask – for help, you are always going to say yes. What I am saying to you is again, we are talking about hypothetical thoughts.”
Henry, who two Premier League titles and three FA Cups under Wenger, made it clear that he wants the veteran manager to decide his own future.
“We are talking about shall he quit or not – I can never say that,” the club’s record goalscorer added.
“I am not sitting on the fence, I can never say that.
“I have battled with this man, I can never say that. Do you understand what I mean? I can never say that.
“What I don’t want to see is what’s happening to him, and I would like him to have the last word, whatever word it’s going to be.”
For now, the #WengerOut campaign rages…