Thierry Henry has left Arsenal, after manager Arsene Wenger delivered an extraordinary ultimatum to arguably the greatest player in the club’s history.
Wenger ruled that Henry could only have a coaching role with Arsenal’s academy if he devotes himself full-time and relinquishes his role as a pundit on Sky Sports.
Wenger, 66, feels his fellow Frenchman cannot work within the club during the week and then criticise their players at the weekend, prompting the former striker to leave the club.
Henry has been completing his coaching badges at the club, but has not been seen at the Hale End training ground for some time.
Former club captain Tony Adams is seen as a ready-made replacement in the academy role.
Henry, who is seen as a possible future Arsenal manager, was known to be unhappy with the situation, which will lead to him having to continue his coaching requirements at another club — rather than the one that has a statue of him outside their stadium.
Henry, who is doing his Pro Licence coaching badge, had wanted to continue his role with Arsenal’s junior sides and had been offered a paid role of assistant manager with the Under 18s by academy head Andries Jonker.
Henry has spent time with various age groups as part of his UEFA A licence qualifications, leaving Dutchman Jonker and other senior figures to regard Henry — the talisman of the 2004 Arsenal Invincibles side — as an inspiring figure for the young Gunners.
The club’s record goalscorer, whose Sky deal is believed to be worth £4million a year, had offered to work for nothing for Arsenal with his proposed salary being shared among the other academy coaches.
Wenger is in the hypocritical position of taking a busy TV role himself with beIN Sport throughout Euro 2016.
It is understood the manager has had reservations about his former captain combining roles since Henry said on Sky in April 2015 that Arsenal would struggle to win the Premier League while Olivier Giroud was the first-choice striker.
Wenger is forming a habit of falling out with club superstars. Patrick Vieira is still hurt by Wenger not offering him a coaching role when he retired in 2011 and is now being groomed to be the future boss of Manchester City.
The hardline approach to Henry comes at a time when Wenger is under consideration for the England job, if the FA are prepared to wait one more season until the end of his current contract.