Sources have told Sports Illustrated that Thierry Henry has reached an agreement with Red Bull New York to come to Major League Soccer after the World Cup.
Two roadblocks must be navigated before the deal can be finalized. First, Henry must make it through the summer's World Cup injury-free. Second, Barcelona must be compensated, with Henry having one year remaining on his deal with the Catalan club.
From the story:
Catalan newspaper Sport reported Friday that Henry had signed a pre-contract agreement with the club, with the only surprise being that the news had taken so long to leak out. Sources in Barcelona told SI.com that Henry's manager Darren Dein, a lawyer and the son of ex-Arsenal vice-chairman David Dein, had tied up a deal in principle with the Red Bulls as long as three weeks ago.
Unsurprisingly, considering its season only finished on Sunday night, Barcelona has not yet agreed to any sale. It would demand some compensation given that Henry's contract has one more year to run, and both parties would need to make sure contingencies are in place were Henry to suffer an injury at the World Cup. So it's not a done deal just yet.
Thierry Henry has been linked with a move to Major League Soccer for the better part of two years, and although whispers have linked him with Philadelphia and Seattle, the preponderance of murmuring has placed the forward at Red Bull Arena.
Henry's move to Major League Soccer has been eased by a disappointing season at Barcelona. One season after playing a part in Barcelona's treble with 26 goals in 46 appearances, Henry has scored only four times in 27 matches, losing his place in the starting team to Pedro Rodriguez and seeing his time off-the-bench given to Bojan Krkic and Jeffrén Suárez. Though he did see 12 minutes of time this Sunday against Real Valladolid, Henry has only appeared five times since the beginning of April.
His lack of form for the Spanish champions drew criticism from out-going president Joan LaPorta, who said Henry would be allowed to leave Barcelona this summer:
"He still has a one-year contract with us, but after a disappointing year I do not know what he will do," Laporta was quoted as saying in an interview with Sport.
"In Barcelona we respect contracts, but he probably has not done as well as he wanted. Therefore, I say that he may go away in the summer transfer window if that's what he wants."
Before moving, Henry is set to captain the France national team at this summer's World Cup. Henry was a member of country's 1998 World Cup-winning team and was also a part of France's European Championship-winning side two years later.
Henry is a two-time PFA Player of the Year in England and five time French Player of the Year. He was elected to the English Football Hall of Fame in 2008 and has twice won the European Golden Boot as the most prolific goal scorer in Europe.
Where he to move to New York, Henry would become the second of three possible designated players for Red Bull, likely forming a strike partnership with the team's other marquee player, Juan Pablo Angel. New York would also become the first time to sign an additional designated player since the DP rules were expanded under the new collective bargaining agreement.
But for now, it appears Henry only has a pre-contract agreement with Red Bull, according to the SI report. Still under contract to Barcelona for one more season, negotiations must now take place with the current European champions.