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Arsene Wenger confirms the imminent return of an Arsenal icon

| 30.12.2011

After days of speculation, Arsene Wenger – who almost never discusses a potential transfer until he is confident that it will be completed – has revealed that Thierry Henry is virtually certain to rejoin Arsenal on loan.

It will be the third successive year that the Gunners have brought back a former star on a short-term basis in mid-season, following Sol Campbell’s shock comeback in 2010 and Jens Lehmann’s brief spell as goalkeeping cover late on last term.

And though Henry has been training with the club recently to maintain his fitness while the MLS, in which he represents the New York Red Bulls, is out of action, Wenger insists that he was responsible for the decision to bring him back as a player.

The Frenchman said: “It was my idea. He was happy about it, but it was my idea. We are doing it because Gervinho and Marouane Chamakh go to the African Nations Cup and to cover for two months is ideal.

“He is still class and has quality. He still has pace. It can only be positive, because he has exceptional talent. He is experienced, he is quality, and can help the players on and off the pitch.

“The deal is not completed, and at the moment we can’t announce anything. It is about insurance and I don’t take care of that but we have to respect all the agreements we need to find with MLS.”

Whereas Henry was the main man at the Emirates before leaving for Barcelona in 2007, he is likely to mainly serve as cover for current hero Robin van Persie, though it is also viable that he will start in Gervinho’s position out wide.

At 34, Arsenal’s all time record goal-getter is past his peak, however a 35-year-old Henrik Larsson showed the value of such an arrangement by helping Manchester United to the title in similar circumstances in 2006-07.

The length of the loan creates the possibility of reunions with former foes Manchester United and Tottenham and it is 11/10 that Henry assists the north Londoners in their pursuit of a top-four finish.



Richard Anderson