It's always nice to make an impression after starting a new job. You need to get yourself noticed, to get people talking and to prove your worth. But as good as Thierry Henry was on the pitch, he's not proving too popular in his new punditry role.
Henry was all-too-quick to bring Tottenham's Harry Kane back down to earth despite his 30-goal haul this season, but this weekend Henry scathed at another top flight striker. This time, it was fellow countryman and current Arsenal line-leader Olivier Giroud.
After failing to fire during Arsenal's 0-0 draw against Chelsea on Sunday, Henry expressed that Arsene Wenger needs to sign four new players in order to take the next step to Premier League title winners. Now he's not far wrong, but he listed that finding a replacement for Giroud should be one of Wenger's main concerns.
Simply put, it's not practical for Arsenal to do so. Their deficiencies lie elsewhere and those areas are where the North Londoners need to put their time and money first. While Henry was correct enough in stating that a new goalkeeper, centre half and defensive midfielder were needed, his analysis of Giroud was unfair. Not only is Giroud a consistent performer, but he holds together the attacking talent around him and there's a lack of suitable replacements elsewhere.
Reflecting on the Chelsea result, Henry said: "I'm afraid they (Arsenal) need a top, top quality striker to win this league again.
"I think Giroud is doing extremely well. But can you win the league with him? I wouldn't think so. He does a job, and he does it ever so well, but you can't win the league."
So Henry has made his mind up. His statement was met with scorn from Gunners midfielder Francis Coquelin and predictably, Giroud himself hasn't taken too kindly to the comments. But what Henry failed to point out was just where this proposed replacement would come from.
Taking a look at today's transfer market, you'd be hard pressed to find an appropriately priced striker who is streets ahead of the Frenchman. Admittedly, he's not at the level of the likes of Diego Costa and Sergio Aguero, but there's a lack of strikers available to Arsenal across Europe who could come in and immediately bring the team up a notch.
Paris Saint Germain's Edinson Cavani and his replacement at former club Napoli, Gonzalo Higuain, are perhaps the prime candidates. Henry wants Arsenal to push the boat out and spend big this summer, but in reality the other priority positions he listed are the very problems that have stopped Arsenal moving forward over the last few seasons.
Those positions are going to bring Arsenal to the top. A new striker would be a mere luxury, and an expensive one at that.
As an Arsenal fan, would you see justification in the club's decision to spend what in all likelihood would be a club record transfer fee on a player who would make the smallest of improvements?
Higuain has 32 league goals over the last two seasons, and Cavani (although played out of position most of the time) has 27. Both play in what are accepted as inferior leagues, and Giroud has 30 Premier League goals to his name over the same time frame.
Honestly, it doesn't suggest that those "viable" transfer targets are worth the gamble. The Frenchman could do just as good a job.
Giroud is underrated and under-appreciated. He's consistently given the Gunners a healthy goal return since moving across from Montpellier in 2012, and this season boasts 14 Premier League goals in 22 appearances. He'd have hit the 20-goal mark had he not missed a large chunk of the first half of the campaign with injury, and a hot-streak in March landed him a Player of the Month award.
He's got what it takes to be a Premier League winner, but it's the responsibility of the team as a whole - and the manager - to take the next step. A smart summer of business from Arsenal will take them closer to where they want to be, but given the array of attacking talent they have at their disposal, more fire power should just not be their biggest concern.
Giroud is the glue that makes Arsenal's attack work. The beauty of Arsene Wenger's team is that they can score goals from all over the pitch, and that quality limits their need to possess an undisputed world-class striker.
He may not be amongst the world's very best, but Arsenal have a proven Premier League striker on their hands who is more than capable of continuing to succeed at the top. So lay off him, Thierry.
For more fan views or to join the conversation visit www.90min.comSuggest a correction