Thursday 27 July 2017

Wenger refuses to rule out return of Gunners legend Henry

Paul Hayward

From statue to first-team player again is a journey that seemed less improbable for Thierry Henry when Arsene Wenger insisted he is still good enough to play in the Premier League and declined to rule out the possibility of a brief return for Arsenal's greatest striker.

"Yes," the Arsenal manager said emphatically when asked whether Henry could still shine in England's top league.

Renamed 'Teary Henry' after he cried at the unveiling of his statue last week, the former darling of the north London crowds has impressed the club's coaching staff while keeping fit at their London Colney training ground between Major League Soccer campaigns with New York Red Bulls.

Asked whether Henry -- who bagged 226 goals in his time with the Gunners, helping Wenger's side to lift two Premier League titles and the FA Cup twice in the process -- could join Landon Donovan (who has signed on loan for Everton) in filling time between American fixtures Wenger said: "I haven't even investigated that. I cannot tell you even if there is a chance because I haven't even made any approach, not to him nor his club.

"I do not always master all my thoughts, so it has to come through my brain at some stage, but I haven't been concrete on the case."

The word is that Arsenal will hunt for a striker in January to support Robin van Persie and could yet use Henry as a fall-back option if none of their targets are available.

Germany international Lukas Podolski has been deemed the most likely prey, but Wenger was adamant there would be no action on that front.

Would they be shopping for goal-scorers after Christmas? "I don't know yet.

"That was an honest answer," Wenger said.

"Podolski? No. You want to speak of Thierry Henry and I can understand that, but at the moment he just practises with us."

The obstacles are numerous. Henry might not want to jeopardise his legacy with a six-week winter slog at the Emirates and there are the usual financial complications to take into account.

But as several observers noted, the London Colney pitch is already being graced by an obvious support act for the in-form Van Persie, who carries a heavy load.

Donovan is not due back in Los Angeles until February 26, so Henry could certainly claim the same dispensation.

The statue could yet put on a shirt and run. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent

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