LONDON: Apparently Arsene Wenger wants to sign the club’s most prolific striker, Thierry Henry, for a third time. If negotiations go smoothly the 35-year-old could make yet another Arsenal debut in the FA Cup third round meeting with Swansea on January 6.
Pressure on Arsenal to sign someone – anyone – was ramped up after the humiliation of a near-full-strength side being knocked out of the League Cup on penalties on Tuesday by fourth division Bradford City.
Arsenal had equalised only in the closing minutes through Thomas Vermaelen who then missed the crucial penalty in the 3-2 shootout defeat after a 1-1 draw.
All the signs are that the Gunners need rather more than ‘only’ an old, veteran loanee but they are in advanced talks with New York Red Bulls. Ideally, Wenger would like to keep Henry until the end of the season but the Major League Soccer outfit are reluctant not to have him at the start of their season.
The Gunners’ erratic first half of the season has left them seventh in the Premier League albeit only two points behind Everton in the prized fourth, Champions League qualifying, place.
Olivier Giroud has adapted well but Lukas Podolski is not suited to a role in the centre of attack and strengthening measures are urgently needed. Hence the Gunners are not only pursuing Henry but have been linked with Klas-Jan Huntelaar and Manchester United’s unsettled winger Nani – though he might be no more than a replacement for impatient, contract-fading Theo Walcotti.
Henry made his name under Wenger at Monaco before moving briefly to Juventus and then being rescued by his mentor for Arsenal in 1999 at a cost of £11m. Wenger turned him from a winger into a world-class striker and he remains Arsenal’s all-time leading scorer with 228 goals in all competitions.
The Frenchman won two league titles and three FA Cups with the Gunners; he was nominated for the FIFA World Player of the Year twice, was named the PFA Players’ Player of the Year twice, and the FWA Footballer of the Year three times.
Henry spent his final two seasons with Arsenal as club captain, leading them to the 2006 UEFA Champions League Final.
In June 2007, after eight years with Arsenal, he transferred to Barcelona with whom he won a unique six major trophies in one calendar year. In 2010, he joined Red Bulls, returning on loan to Arsenal for two months last spring, scoring one goal in four games.
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