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Why Thierry Henry will not be Bordeaux’s next manager

The chaos that has reigned at Bordeaux since the start of the summer looks set to continue, with last night’s news that potential manager Thierry Henry had walked away from negotiations with the club. The club is now left without a manager with only 3 days to go before a season-defining Europa League tie.

The former Arsenal striker had initially agreed to be Gustavo Poyet’s successor at the end of last week after being sounded out the club’s current owners. Nevertheless, the situation had soured over the weekend, mainly over disagreements regarding his wage and financial backing, according to RMC. Having flown Henry out to New York this week, the club’s future owners, investment fund GAPC, were unable to meet the former striker’s 2 million per year salary demand.

The lack of assurances over reinforcements to the squad – with the transfer window in France closing this Friday – was also cited as one of the reasons for the breakdown in talks. This, coupled with his insistence on having a remit that resembles that of the English-style manager rather than the French head coach role, was incompatible with GAPC’s project and by yesterday afternoon Henry had walked away.

This latest setback is symptomatic of a behind the scenes tug-of-war between current long-time owners M6 and the group headed by Joe daGrosa, set to take over in September. It also, however, lifts the lid on a muddled tangle of disputes and conflict of interest between the key men in this case. According to Goal, the role Henry was angling for would have overshadowed the various agents and intermediaries involved in GAPC’s project. This network of agents advising daGrosa have even extended their influence so far as to dictate incoming transfers, invariably favouring their own clients over other players.

One name that stands out in particular is that of Hugo Varela, one of Joe daGrosa’s advisors, who was amongst those who had reportedly feared that Henry’s network of players would eclipse his own. Other major figures at the club, such as president Stéphane Martin and technical director Ulrich Ramé, have also had tried to impose their influence, while M6’s Nicolas de Tavernost has been clear on wanting to leave the club in good hands and securing the team’s future.

As Bordeaux looks forward to the second leg of their Europa League playoff against Gent on Thursday, the club will be looking at the very least to have found someone to step in for current interim manager Eric Bedouet. At the minute it is unclear who will be chosen, with Claudio Ranieri’s name having already been discarded over the Italian’s salary demands, nor is it clear who will be taking the decision.

 


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