France’s all-time leading goalscorer and Arsenal legend Thierry Henry has taken the next big step in his coaching career as he followed on the footsteps of his former boss Arsene Wenger to the hot seat at Ligue 1 side AS Monaco. And we at FOX Sports Asia thought it was a good time to take a look at some of Le Professeur’s students who are enjoying a good time in coaching.
5. STEVE BOULD (Arsenal FC)
Not many can claim to know Arsenal as a club than Wenger who spent 22 years managing the North London outfit. But one man who is as familiar with the Gunners is Steve Bould who served as Wenger’s assistant from 2012 and continues to fulfil that role under their new Spanish manager Unai Emery.
Bould joined Arsenal from Stock City in 1988 and instantly formed a solid central defensive partnership with Tony Adams helping the club win First Division titles in 1988-89 and 90-91. He spent 11 years at the club of which three were under Wenger for whom he won the Premier League and FA Cup.
The centre-back returned to the club in 2001 in a coaching capacity and led the Arsenal U18s to back-to-back Premier Academy League titles and also the FA Youth Cup. Though yet to cut his teeth as a standalone manager, he has received rave reviews from several of the Arsenal superstars over the years.
4. GIOVANNI VAN BRONCKHORST (Feyenoord Rotterdam)
Arriving from Rangers in 2001, Van Bronckhorst spent just two seasons at Highbury making 64 appearances in the midfield across all competitions before moving to Barcelona where he reinvented himself as a left-back. The former Dutch international would retire from his playing career at his boyhood club Feyenoord in 2010 winning the Dutch Cup on his way out.
But Van Bronckhorst would once again return to the Rotterdam-based outfit a year later — this time as an assistant to Ronald Koeman. He was made the gaffer of the Dutch club in 2015 and won the domestic cup in his debut season as a manager. A year later, he took the club to it’s maiden Eredivisie title in 18 years cementing his credentials in coaching.
The 43-year-old led the club to another cup triumph last season as they defeated AZ Alkmaar 3-0 in the final. Eight games into the new season, Feyenoord with five wins and two draws are sitting third in Eredivisie behind PSV Eindhoven and Ajax Amsterdam.
3. PATRICK VIEIRA (OGC Nice)
Van Bronckhorst’s former midfield partner at Arsenal, Vieira, is meanwhile in charge of OGC Nice in the French league this season, having honed his coaching abilities with Major League Soccer franchise New York City FC during the last two campaigns. But his European adventure has not got off to the best of starts with Nice struggling collecting just three wins from the opening nine games.
The last Arsenal captain to lift a Premier League title back in 2006, Vieira took the first steps in coaching at Manchester City where he coached and oversaw their age-level teams from 2011 until 2015 when he was sent across the Atlantic to coach City’s partner club in New York. He guided NY to back-to-back playoff appearances in his first two seasons.
The 1998 FIFA World Cup-winner was rumoured to be a candidate to replace Wenger at Arsenal, but the former midfielder now sees himself taking over the Ligue 1 club as a replacement for Lucien Favre who left for Borussia Dortmund.
2. MIKEL ARTETA (Manchester City FC)
Arteta had developed a reputation as Pep Guardiola’s righthand man at Manchester City — so much so that many believed he was the firm favourite to replace his former gaffer at the Emirates Stadium. It was even reported that the Spaniard was finalising his backroom staff for taking over at his old club when Emergy came out of the left field.
But that is not to take away from his impressive stint as a joint assistant coach at City since 2016 during which the club has won the Premier League and League Cup. “Mikel deserves the best. We are so comfortable working with him, he is one of the reasons for our success this season,” Guardiola said of Arteta during the last campaign.
Wenger bought Arteta from Everton in 2011 and won two FA Cups with the London club before retiring at the end of 2015-16 season.
1. THIERRY HENRY (AS Monaco)
Henry returns to his former club as a manager and Monaco will want him to be clicking at the earliest. The club are in the relegation zone of Ligue 1 taking just six points from nine games so far this season — a run that has led to the sacking of Leonardo Jardim, the same manager who helped them win their first French title in 17 years a season ago.
But stars of that team like Kylian Mbappe, Benjamin Mendy, Bernardo Silva, Fabinho, Thomas Lemar, Joao Moutinho and Tiemoue Bakayoko have left for elsewhere as Henry has been handed over an inexperienced group with whom he will be expected to fight for major honours in France. But Wenger, himself, can attest to the former French striker’s qualities.
“Henry has a lot of credibility. He is very intelligent and understands football. Like a lot of players on this high level, he has all the ingredients,” Wenger has said of his former player who was working as an assistant to Roberto Martinez in the Belgium national team that finished third at the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia.