With the MLS 2021 season getting underway in April, now is the time in which preparations begin to scale up for the campaign ahead and for the 27 outfits that will be looking to obtain championship glory, one of those has already suffered a setback.
A setback that comes courtesy of losing a manager and for CF Montreal (previously known as the Montreal Impact) that is exactly what has happened, as Thierry Henry has called time on his coaching stint with the Canadian-based franchise.
While although the departure will come as something of a shock to those within the MLS community, this recent news does not generate the largest of surprises either and that is due to the former Arsenal star being linked with employment elsewhere.
Employment that could possibly have come via the EFL Championship and with Bournemouth looking to name a new manager of their own, Henry was reported to have had an interview with the club’s owners.
Bournemouth are a club that plied their trade in the Premier League last season and although they suffered the ignominy of relegation at the end of “Project Restart”, they would aspire to return to the competition at the first time of asking.
However, those aspirations would need to be fulfilled without the services of Eddie Howe and with the former Bournemouth defender deciding to call time on his second stint as manager, the club then had to decide on their new direction.
A direction that was not all that far from their original path and with Jason Tindall being promoted from his role as Howe’s assistant, the plan was for continuity to act as a conduit to a Premier League return.
Unfortunately, this plan did not come to fruition and with Tindall being sacked at the beginning of February, it was deemed that the continuation of Howe’s impressive work was not going to be enough to return to the promised land.
Therefore, a change of tact was deemed necessary and it was a change that could well have involved Thierry Henry at the Bournemouth helm. Then again, there is always a sense of if is not broken, do not fix it and that is exactly what has happened at the Cherries.
Thierry Henry’s return to MLS is over, with CF Montreal insisting Bournemouth rumors had nothing to do with it. @brianstraus on the abrupt end to the legend’s time in Canada and yet another coaching search for the club to conduct https://t.co/rHiRpQLyvQ
— Sports Illustrated (@SInow) February 25, 2021
To the point where, the man who took the reins from Tindall on a temporary basis, has at least been given the Bournemouth job until the end of the season and that sees Jonathan Woodgate continue his impressive start at the Vitality Stadium.
A decision, that meant Henry would not be returning to Europe or at least not immediately and even though he would not be coaching in England’s second tier, it was not enough to keep him in North America either.
With the current quarantine protocols in place, it has meant that the former Barcelona forward has been separated from his family for quite a while and with the 1998 World Cup winner becoming increasingly homesick, the only other option was to walk away from the CF Montreal job.
A tough decision, but a decision that had to be made all the same, and although Henry led the previously named Impact to the play-offs last season, the understandable emotional pull that comes in these circumstances, was one that was just too much to carry.
Which means a return to London is now on the cards for the 43-year-old and you would imagine that soon he will find gainful employment, to add to his previous roles as manager of Monaco and assistant to Roberto Martinez within the Belgian national team setup.
While of course, the big question is what happens next for CF Montreal and more importantly, how have the USA betting sites taken to such news? In terms of betting odds for the MLS 2021 season, it will have done little to improve their outlook.
Especially, when they are priced at an eye-watering +6000 and with those odds, you get the feeling that whoever enters the Saputo Stadium as their next manager, is going to have his work cut out over the course of the campaign.
To the point where, even emulating last year’s effort may be too tall of an ask, and for those CF Montreal supporters who were pinning their hopes on at least a berth in the play-offs, they may end up suffering a rather hefty disappointment.