Thierry Henry developed into one of the best payers in the world during his time at Arsenal – but his first spell at the club ended on a disappointing note.
Henry’s last appearance in the 2006-07 season came against PSV Eindhoven in the Champions League last-16 second leg but the Gunners lost on aggregate after drawing 1-1 at the Emirates.
The striker joined Barcelona a few weeks later but did return to the Gunners on a two-month loan deal in January 2012.
But we’ve taken a look back at the Arsenal XI from that draw with PSV to see how they’ve all fared in the last 15 years.
GK: Jens Lehmann
After leaving Arsenal in 2008, Lehmann spent two years with Stuttgart before coming out of retirement for a second spell with the Gunners in 2011.
In 2017, the former Germany international returned to Arsenal once again and joined Arsene Wenger’s coaching staff, but he was axed when Unai Emery was appointed.
He’s since worked as an assistant manager for Augsburg and a board member at Hertha Berlin. Lehmann was sacked from the latter position after sending a racist text message to Sky pundit Dennis Aogo.
The 52-year-old recently made headlines in Germany after storming his neighbour’s garage with a chainsaw following a long-running feud between the pair. Yes, really.
RB: Kolo Toure
Toure moved to Manchester City in 2009 and went on to have a three-season spell with Liverpool, becoming a cult hero at both clubs.
The former Ivory Coast international then saw out his playing career in style, winning a Treble and going unbeaten throughout the entire domestic campaign with Celtic in 2016-17.
After announcing his retirement, he became a first-team coach for the Scottish side and then followed Brendan Rodgers to Leicester in 2019.
READ: A celebration of Kolo Toure: Likeable, hilarious, and also very, very good
CB: William Gallas
Gallas was named Arsenal captain following Henry’s departure but was stripped of the armband in November 2008 after criticising his young team-mates and revealing details of infighting in the dressing room.
The centre-back crossed the north London divide to join Tottenham in the summer of 2010 and enjoyed an excellent debut season before injuries took their toll.
He retired in 2014 after a brief spell in the A-League with Perth Glory and has since moved into punditry in his native France.
CB: Gilberto Silva
While Gilberto had to fill in at centre-back against PSV, he was an excellent midfielder and Arsenal have struggled to replace him.
“I think it’s been quite painful for the team not to have stability in this position,” the midfielder told us in 2020. “They are paying a high price, but I hope at some point they find somebody who can fill the gap.”
He spent three years at Panathinaikos after leaving the Gunners in 2008 and then returned to his native Brazil with Gremio and Atletico Mineiro.
Since retiring in 2015, Gilberto has worked for Panathinaikos as a technical director and has also set up his own football podcast and clothing line.
READ: A tribute to Gilberto Silva, Arsenal’s unsexy but essential Invincible
LB: Gael Clichy (Theo Walcott, ’85)
Clichy followed in Gallas’ footsteps by joining Manchester City n 2011 and was able to add two more Premier League winners’ medals to his trophy cabinet.
After being deemed surplus to requirements by Pep Guardiola in 2017, he went to Istanbul Basaksehir and played a key role in the club’s first Super Lig title in 2019-20.
The 37-year-old is now playing for Servette in Switzerland and has spoken about his plans after his playing career is over.
“The idea is to become a manager but I do not know if I will be good or if I will like it, so the first step is to learn, he told the Guardian in 2021.
“I am talking to the coaches, I am going to start my badges and from that moment I will see if I have that feeling and desire to do it. At the moment I do but when I am available and have my badges, maybe I will feel it is not really for me.”
He’s since got his UEFA A License and could start a coaching career when his Servette contract expires n 2023.
Walcott’s 12-year stay at Arsenal came to an end in January 2018, and he is now back at boyhood club Southampton.
RM: Alexander Hleb
Hleb reunited with Henry and joined Barcelona in 2008 but regrets that move, telling us he cried over his decision to join the Spanish side.
The midfielder embarked on a nomadic career after leaving Camp Nou in 2012, playing for teams in Russia, Belarus and Turkey before hanging up his boots in 2019.
He came out of retirement to sign for Bahrain’s Al Khaldiya in 2021 but never actually played for the club.
READ: A tribute to eternal Arsenal cult hero Alex Hleb, an ugly beauty lost in time
Denilson struggled with homesickness during his time at Arsenal and returned to Brazil in 2011, joining Sao Paulo on an initial loan deal before making the move permanent in 2013.
The 34-year-old has been a free agent since leaving Brasil de Pelotas in September 2021 but is currently trying to help the next generation.
He’s set up a football academy in Brazil and a friend in England convinced him to twin the academy with Gillingham Town, a non-league club in Kent.
“I enjoy helping the young generation and people in need,” Denilson told The Guardian. “I do the same in Brazil. I still feel England is like my home and I’d like to help people there.
“My dad had his own football academy when he was playing professionally in Brazil. He helped a lot of professional players who are playing today and I wanted to do the same again.
CM: Cesc Fabregas
Fabregas developed into one of the best midfielders in the world during his time at Arsenal before finally making his long-anticipated return to boyhood club Barcelona in the summer of 2011.
He then came back to the Premier League three years later to join Chelsea – a move that outraged Arsenal fans but saw him win two Premier League titles, an FA Cup, the League Cup and the Europa League.
The former Spain international recently joined Serie B side Como on a free transfer after three-and-a-half years at Monaco but is already making plans for the future.
“When I become a coach, as I have said, the Premier League has been my league, it is where I played my best football, my best years, where people respect me so much,” he told Sky Sports.
“I feel really loved in England and, in the future, I would love [to coach there], why not? I’d love to [be a Premier League manager], 100 per cent. If I can look at a target in some years to come, then definitely, this is in my head.”
Throwback to this legendary interview with Thierry Henry and Cesc Fàbregas
— Throwback Arsenal (@ThrowbackAFC) September 11, 2020
Freddie Ljungberg (Abou Diaby, ’74)
Ljungberg also left Arsenal in 2007 and had stints at West Ham, Seattle Sounders, Chicago Fire, Celtic, Shimizu S-Pulse and Mumbai City.
After coaching Arsenal Under-15s, the former Sweden international had a brief spell as assistant manager at Wolfsburg before returning to the Gunners as the Under-23s coach.
He became a first-team coach ahead of the 2019-20 season and stepped in as caretaker manager for six games following Unai Emery’s departure.
The 45-year-old decided to leave the club in 2020 to pursue other opportunities but is still waiting for his first full-time managerial job.
Diaby had a brief spell at Marseille after leaving Arsenal but was forced to retire from professional football at the age of 32 due to a series of injury problems.
ST: Julio Baptista (Thierry Henry, ’66)
Henry became a pundit for Sky Sports after hanging up his boots in 2014 and began coaching Arsenal’s youth teams a few months later.
He was named assistant coach of the Belgian national team in 2016 and then had spells in charge of Monaco and Montreal Impact before rejoining Belgium’s coaching staff in 2021.
As for Baptista, if only someone had written about how his career panned out. Oh right…
READ: The curious career of Julio Baptista: Sevilla star to Real & Arsenal outcast
ST: Emmanuel Adebayor
Adebayor initially helped fill the void left by Henry’s departure before leaving under a cloud to join Manchester City in 2009. He’s since branded Arsene Wenger “fake” and admitted he has a “hate” for Arsenal.
He left City on a permanent basis in 2012 and then had stints at Tottenham, Crystal Palace, Istanbul Basaksehir, Kayserispor and Olimpia.
Now 38, the striker is back in his native Togo and playing for top-flight outfit AC Semassi.
Ranking every Arsenal striker since Thierry Henry signed for Barcelona
A tribute to Thierry Henry, Arsenal’s scorer of more goals and better goals
Can you name every French player to appear for Arsenal in the PL?
The story of Yaya Toure’s ‘completely average’ Arsenal trial against Barnet
Leave a Comment