Thomas Henry 'ready for step up' says OH Leuven boss amid Celtic links

Thomas Henry fully deserves a chance at the top and is ready to show what he can do on the big stage, according to OH Leuven manager Marc Brys.

Thomas Henry looks to escape the attentions of Anderlecht's Hannes Delcroix fight for the ball during a Jupiler Pro League clash
Thomas Henry looks to escape the attentions of Anderlecht's Hannes Delcroix fight for the ball during a Jupiler Pro League clash

The French striker has been linked with a host of clubs on the back of his form for the Belgian club with three goals in the opening three matches of this season but as things stand, Celtic are reportedly in the driving seat to secure the 6ft 4in forward’s services.

Gent were reportedly hopeful of bringing Henry to the Ghelamco Arena, having been convinced by his performance as the sixth-most efficient striker in the Jupiler Pro League last term, but it is understood that they are likely to pursue other options as Hein Vanhaezebrouck hunts a new striker.

The Scottish Sun reports that the Hoops are set to win the race for the 26-year-old, while reports in Belgium suggest the Parkhead side have already submitted a bid of £7million – around 17½ times the fee OHL paid to prise the player from divisional rivals Tubize, now known as Royale Union Tubize-Braine, in January 2019.

OH Leuven boss Marc Brys believes Henry has earned a big move

Henry was playing in France’s third tier just three years ago but Brys believes the Argenteuil-born attacker has earned a shot at the big time – even if he doesn’t want to lose his star striker.

“I hope it doesn’t happen,” he said, when asked about the prospect of Henry leaving Leuven. “But he is 26 years old and hoping to take a step forward in his career.

"It is only right that he is looking to do so.”

Brys believes the former Nantes and Chambly forward is eager to continue his meteoric rise amid links with teams including Bordeaux and Venezia as well as Celtic.

Henry, left, celebrates his goal against Charleroi

He told Voetbalkrant: “Thomas comes from a very sporty background and is very driven and eager to see how far he can go. He wants to know what his options are.

"It has nothing to do with money; it’s all about the sporting project.”

While Brys is supportive of Henry targeting a step up in his career, he knows it will be tough to replace him.

"He is ready, he absolutely deserves it. If he leaves, it will be a tremendous loss. When he does, it will be with mixed feelings."

In the aftermath of Leuven’s 1-1 draw with Sporting Charleroi at the weekend, Henry was visibly emotional as the supporters chanted his name.

“When our amazing fans chanted his name after the match, he was moved to tears,” Brys added. “Thomas is a great striker, but also a great person.

"It's a pity, but again, I wholeheartedly congratulate him on what he has done for OHL.”

Henry himself is in no doubt where his future lies – but a return to his homeland is not on the cards.

“I want to go as high as possible,” he said in an interview with Sport/Voetbalmagazine last season. "[But] leaving France three years ago was the best decision I’ve made in my life. I’ve blossomed more here in Belgium than in France.

“My priority [is] a better competition. I want to get game-time at an ambitious club.

“At 26, it's time. I no longer doubt that I can handle a high level. I'm excited to take the next step."

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