English Premiership

Henry close to Arsenal return

2011-12-30 13:36
Arsene Wenger (AP)

London - Thierry Henry will sign a two-month loan deal with Arsenal if insurance agreements can be arranged with his Major League Soccer side New York Red Bulls, according to the London club's coach, Arsene Wenger.

The 34-year-old Frenchman has been training with the Londoners since the close of the MLS season in November and recently had a statue of him unveiled at the Emirates Stadium to underline his legendary status at the club.

Henry will not be required back in the United States until March and Wenger will lose Gervinho and Marouane Chamakh for up to a month at the end of January due to the Africa Cup of Nations, leaving him short of strikers.

"For two months it certainly will happen. I don't take care of the agreement and the insurance and that is not completed," Wenger said.

"At the moment we cannot announce anything because all the paperwork is not done.

"To cover for two months is ideal. He has the experience and the quality. He knows the club and can help the players on and off the pitch.

"He has exceptional talent and is a very intelligent man, it can only be positive."

Henry could feature in seven Premier League games, including key encounters against Manchester United and Tottenham, as well as FA Cup ties and the first leg of Arsenal's Champions League last-16 clash against AC Milan.

If agreement is reached with Red Bulls he could start his second Arsenal spell in the FA Cup third-round tie against Leeds on January 9 after impressing Wenger with his sharpness during training.

Henry, meanwhile, has clearly felt at home back in London and was moved to tears when a statue of him was unveiled at the Emirates Stadium this month, along with those of fellow Gunners legends Tony Adams and Herbert Chapman.

Wenger added: "He is very happy and very modest about it. It was my idea and he was happy with the idea."

Henry, the club's record all-time scorer with 226 goals in 370 appearances, left Arsenal in 2007 for Barcelona before moving to the United States where he currently plays for the New York Bulls.

He is regarded as one of the greatest players to have ever pulled on an Arsenal shirt, winning two league titles and three FA Cups during his hugely successful eight-year spell at the club.

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