Thierry Henry: Arsenal not an attractive destination for top players
Thierry Henry has told The Sun that Arsenal are no longer an attractive destination for top players because the club aren't competing for major trophies.
Henry, Arsenal's all-time leading goal scorer, said there is no reason for world-class players to come to the Emirates as long as Arsene Wenger's team continually fail to fight for the Premier League and Champions League.
"It kills me to say this as an Arsenal fan, but my old club are not an attractive destination any more for the top, top players," Henry wrote. "Why would the leading players who can have a real impact in the Premier League and improve that Arsenal team come to the Emirates?"
Henry's comments come as Arsenal have slipped to seventh place in the Premier League ahead of Monday's game at Middlesbrough amid perhaps the worst slump of Wenger's 21-year reign.
They are in real danger of missing out on Champions League qualification for the first time under Wenger, which could also make them an even less attractive destination in this summer's transfer window.
But he pointed out that Chelsea were able to beat Arsenal to midfielder N'Golo Kante last summer without the lure of Champions League football because the France international felt Antonio Conte's side offered him a better chance of winning trophies.
And as long as Arsenal continue to come up short in the big competitions, even big salaries won't be enough to attract the best players, according to Henry.
"Yes, wages come into it," he wrote. "It is a job after all and as a player you get what you can -- like anyone in any walk of life. But competition for trophies is the key. If you are a director of football and you work for Arsenal, how do you attract a big player?
"I'm not suggesting people aren't doing their jobs at Arsenal -- just that selling the club has become increasingly difficult over the last two or three years. I don't see anything to attract the big players."
Henry had been set to help coach Arsenal's under-18 side this season but had to leave that role after Wenger decided he couldn't combine it with his job as a Sky Sports pundit. He is now an assistant coach for Belgium.
He also noted how players discuss their clubs during international breaks and that Arsenal's players now have a much tougher time selling their teammates on a move to the Emirates.
"I don't know who has been on Arsenal's list over recent years but I'm sure that some of the players who joined were not top of their list," he wrote. "To be attractive again they have to win titles again. [That is] easier said than done of course, but when you win, you're sexy. Success attracts top players. It's contagious. And then when you lose that becomes a disease too."
Mattias is ESPN FC's Arsenal correspondent. Follow him on Twitter: @MattiasKaren.