in

Ex-Manchester United official explains why club passed on signing Arsenal legend Thierry Henry

A former Manchester United official has detailed why Sir Alex Ferguson passed up the chance to sign Thierry Henry.

Henry joined Arsenal from Juventus for £11m in 1999 and the rest is history, with the charismatic Frenchman going on to become one of the Gunners’ all-time greats.

Yet things could have been so different with former Old Trafford head of security Ned Kelly, who also acted as a bodyguard to the likes of Ferguson, Eric Cantona and David Beckham.

In his role, Kelly was privy to a number of fascinating conversations over the years including one that saw Cantona’s brother, Jean-Marie, alert Ferguson to the fact Henry was available and ready to make a move to Old Trafford prior to joining Arsenal.

Video Loading

Video Unavailable

Click to play
Tap to play

The video will start in8Cancel

Play now

Yet Kelly revealed that Ferguson gave the idea very short shrift.

“In the tunnel after the game my phone goes, Eric’s older brother Jean-Marie says, ‘Ned, tell Alex that Thierry Henry wants to come to the club’,” Kelly told beIN Sports.

“Now this was before he [Henry] went to Arsenal, his first choice was Manchester United.

“So I go to the boss and say, ‘boss, I’ve just had Jean-Marie Cantona on the phone, he had said Henry wants to come to the club’.

Why should you sign up?

In each football.london Arsenal bulletin, we’ll be bringing you the latest breaking news, transfer features and comment pieces, as well as the key talking points for fans.

We’ll also send special newsletters when big stories break or there’s a special event happening.

How do you sign up?

It’s easy and only takes seconds.

Simply type your email address into the box at the top of this article – or any article on the Arsenal section of football.london in fact – labelled ‘Get the biggest daily stories by email’ and click ‘Subscribe’.

And that’s it, you’re all set.

If you decide later that you no longer wish to receive the emails, simply follow the unsubscribe link in one of the newsletters – but we don’t think you’ll want to.

For more details, click here.

“He says, ‘no way, he’s always f****** injured’. He went to Arsenal, the rest is history.”

Henry went on to score 228 goals in two spells at Arsenal to become the club’s all-time top scorer.

During his time in North London, he picked up two Premier League titles and two FA Cups.