Leonardo Jardim’s name is nothing but a memory on the South coast now as Thierry Henry has been appointed his successor at Monaco after four and a half years under the Portuguese. He did a great job at Monaco but the board have now elected for a new man in the dugout but this comes with a lot of pressure to succeed so how will the World Cup winner cope in his first managerial position?
How has it come to this?
Jardim was pretty instrumental in getting the club to where it now is. After the toil of Claudio Ranieri who got them promoted back into Ligue 1, Jardim really took the Italian’s legacy and ran with it, working alongside tough negotiator Vadim Vasilyev they kept Monaco a top-three side and completed their project by winning Ligue 1 in 2016 against all odds.
Vasilyev has always been known for his work in the transfer market and this is where Monaco have gotten their reputation for constant change of personnel. They have always relied on signing talented players on the brink of brilliance for low prices and selling them on to make a large profit, as the principality club cannot rely on ticket sales for a constant flow of income due to the politics of the area. This has meant that every transfer market is a gamble but under Jardim, they always managed to get it right with signings such as Thomas Lemar, Fabinho, Rony Lopes and Benjamin Mendy being the poster boys of this strategy.
The last window was mostly a failure though with the likes of Jean-Eudes Aholou, Pele and Sofiane Diop looking well below the level of the signings in years gone by. Monaco have only won one game this season and while Vasilyev could have owned up to the mistakes of lacklustre scouting, the club hierarchy ultimately got rid of Jardim instead. This has allowed them to bring in the more fashionable Thierry Henry but it hasn’t gone well for the inexperienced manager yet.
Henry has taken charge of three matches so far, winning none of them. Strasbourg away was always going to be a tough ask and Lebo Mothiba and Adrien Thomasson really put them to the sword in this game but it’s sad to think that the Monaco of last year would have walked all over this average Alsace side. Club Brugge away in the Champions League was also difficult with the Monegasque barely hanging on to a 1-1 draw but their most recent match should have been a landslide. Dijon had lost six of their last seven matches before travelling to Monaco but the Mustards pushed the principalitarians right to the edge, with a late Kamil Glik header rescuing a point for them.
He can do, but can he teach?
Of course, when any player makes his first step into the world of management, it is always a gamble but Henry will be given all the time he needs due to his footballing pedigree and the fact that he is essentially Monaco’s prodigal son. It is a large club for a novice to be taking charge of though and perhaps it is too much of an ask for Henry, still youthful in his coaching tuition.
Henry had a star-studded playing career which saw him play under some of the best managers at a plethora of clubs across the globe; Jean Tigana moulded him at Monaco, Arsene Wenger perfected him at Arsenal and Pep Guardiola reignited him at Barcelona. He was truly given the royal football tutelage under these great men and achieved his UEFA A Coaching Licence with the Welsh FA in 2016.
His first major job came to a climax in the summer where he was the attacking coach in Roberto Martinez’s Belgium staff. He struck up a good relationship with Martinez and the assistant manager Graeme Jones and the trio led the nation to third in the World Cup, a much better finish than many expected. His work was evident with Belgium scoring 16 times in their seven games and Romelu Lukaku said that Henry was “the best thing that has happened” him.
He has all the experience to be a successful manager and obviously has the right idea of how football should be played, as he has made evident throughout his punditry, but this teething period could have a detrimental effect on Monaco in the short term. They currently sit 19th in the league and have some difficult games coming up with Caen and PSG splitting two Champions League matches in Brugge and the red half of Madrid. These matches can be the making of some managers, but it will be interesting to see how Henry’s injury hit squad deal with the pressure.
Henry definitely has a good idea of how football should be played, he just has to get an idea of how matches are won but he shouldn’t worry as he has a pretty glamorous contact list for advice.
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