Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho has revealed that he very nearly got the chance to work with Thierry Henry, coming agonisingly close to securing a transfer that would have probably ensured the Arsenal legend never ended up in North London full stop.
Henry officially announced his retirement yesterday, signing a deal to analyse Premier League games for Sky Sports after a glittering 20-year that reached its peak at Arsenal.
Mourinho was asked for his opinion on the enigmatic French forward and offered glowing praise for a player he believes English football will miss forever, but only after sharing that he tried to sign him from Monaco while assistant manager at Barcelona.
How different Henry's career may have been
In an interview with talkSPORT, brought to our attention by the Evening Standard, Mourinho shared: "I tried to sign him once in my career, when I was an assistant in Barcelona. He was in Monaco and he went to Juventus, we lost him by an inch.
"After that he was not on my radar because it was never a possibility to come to my teams. Could you imagine in that moment leaving Arsenal to come to Chelsea? I wouldn't imagine that."
Henry chose Juve then Wenger
Ultimately Henry decided to choose Juve on the back of a series of impressive displays as a winger for France at the 1998 World Cup, but that move didn't work out and he was of course famously brought to Arsenal after a mid-air meeting with Gunners boss Arsene Wenger.
Henry's chance meeting with Wenger on a flight to Paris saw the star convince Wenger he wanted to join Arsenal, a move that quickly materialised and saw the pair strike up a quite tremendous understanding.
Mourinho agrees that Henry was at the very peak of his powers during eight prolific seasons in North London, despite eventually ending up at Barca and winning the Champions League with the Catalan giants.
The Premier League's greatest ever forward?
The Blues boss said: "Is he one of the all-time greats? Obviously. He's the kind of player that you need forever, especially in the Premier League where he was more than any other place.
"He was okay in Barcelona and the (France) national team, but the real Thierry Henry, the player that we are all going to miss forever, is the one that made unbelievable seasons and incredible history in the Premier League."
Thankfully for Arsenal fans Mourinho didn't get his clutches on another of their greatest ever players before his legacy had ever been sealed, but it wasn't for the want of trying.
Henry's days of tormenting Chelsea and any other Premier League days are now over, but his Sky deal ensures that Mourinho, Wenger and co. haven't heard the last of a forward who was truly frightening in full fight just yet.
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