It started with British tabloids like the Sun with their rumoring of 150,000 Pounds a week, or about 12 Million Dollars a year. We all scoffed, and yet still our hearts got a little flutter of hope. Seattle is being connected with one of the top 20 players in the game. A legitimate star and at a few years younger than beautiful Becks.
Then rumors started out that Barcelona would have allowed him to leave in the July window and had in fact talked to the following Premiership clubs - Arsenal, Newcastle, Spurs, Manchester City, Manchester United and West Ham. Transfer rumors exploded upon that announcement. Offers ran in the 12-25 Million pound range, just to bring him back to the British Isles.
Later The Independent, another tabloid, came out with a different direct dollar amount, but in fact it was quite close the the Sun's rumor. In this case it was a 5.2 Million Pound offer of payment to Henry with no mention of the transfer price.
During this time, every press conference with Sounders FC ownership gets an Henry mention, even if it is a sly answer like "Henry would be a great player to have."
Well, the July window came and went, but guess what is still happening? Henry is still strongly rumored to be leaving Barcelona. His latest connection is to Manchester City as part of a 100Million Pound signing spree.
The transfer rumors are now so heated that Henry is asked about them following his performance in the draw v. Romania in World Cup qualifying.
"I've played three matches in La Liga and I've scored two goals, so there we are. I missed two games because I was ill. I'm not here to talk about the choices of the coach and tell you what's been said between us."
Henry has started two games for Barca but insisted that coach Pep Guardiola was employing a rotation policy throughout the squad. "(Lionel) Messi has started twice on the bench, as has (Samuel) Eto'o while (Daniel) Alves wasn't even in the last squad," he said. "The coach has a rotation policy but you stop when it's me who rotates. Talk about everyone! When (Carlos) Pujol doesn't play against Real Betis, when Alves is not in the squad, when Messi doesn't play against Racing Santander, when Samuel doesn't play against Espanyol. . . . If you talk about it, talk about everyone."
One, that's a rather large set of players in the rotational system that Guadiola is using and likely fuels the rumors, and two the longer this is fueled the more likely something is going to happen, whether Seattle or back to England. Henry is even being linked to Toronto at MLS-Rumors.
The fact is that Seattle is on the short list, along with Red Bull NY and several English clubs. This we seem to know. What we don't know is if Drew Carey's fascination with Barcelona will be enough. We also don't know if Adrian Hanauer's connections to France are enough. We don't know if Joe Roth's connections to the entertainment industry will be enough. We don't know if having the largest season ticket base in MLS will be enough.
What I do know is that I would rather be connected with international stars coming to Seattle, rather than leaving the area as has been the habit in sports recently.
Consider this your Thierry Henry open thread to talk about his rumored transfer and the impact that would have on the Seattle sports scene and on MLS as a whole.
I would be remiss if I didn't link to the GoalSeattle thread on this topic