Wenger considers availing of Henry's talents again
Arsenal manager could snap up former striker on another loan deal in January, writes DAVID HYTNER
Arsene Wenger says he will consider re-signing Thierry Henry on a short-term loan in January for the second successive season. Henry trained last week at London Colney after his season with the New York Red Bulls ended on November 8th, with the play-off defeat to DC United. The 35-year-old is scheduled to tour Venezuela with the Red Bulls but he stands to be available to a European club when the winter transfer window opens.
“Thierry has been practising with us,” Wenger said, ahead of tonight’s Champions League tie at home to Montpellier.
“Three times he trained with us. Will I sign him again in January? I don’t know. I don’t rule it out. I don’t know if he would be interested. He is sharp.”
Wenger turned to the Frenchman last January, as he prepared to lose Gervinho and Marouane Chamakh to the Africa Cup of Nations and he felt that the squad needed cover.
Henry arrived on a two-month loan deal. There is another edition of the Cup of Nations this season – beginning in South Africa on January 19th – and, once again, Wenger is braced to lose the same pair to call-ups from Ivory Coast and Morocco respectively.
“Last year, I did it [sign Henry] because we lost Gervinho,” Wenger said. “It was a good connection. This year we lose Gervinho again as they are playing the African Cup of Nations two years in a row. So we will be confronted with a shortage, particularly if Chamakh should go. I cannot stand in his way. Then we will be short.”
Henry made seven appearances for Arsenal last season and scored two goals – the late winners against Leeds Utd in the FA Cup and Sunderland in the Premier League. He scored a club record 226 goals for Arsenal between 1999-2007. Henry, who scored 15 times for the Red Bulls this season and is on a three-man short-list for MLS’s MVP award, attended Arsenal’s 5-2 home win over Tottenham on Saturday.
Arsenal’s victory over Tottenham has provided a timely lift but the squad’s collective confidence remains a talking point ahead of Montpellier’s visit.
“My team want to do so well that when it does not go as well as they want, they suffer a bit from confidence,” Wenger admitted. He said that the sharp fluctuations in his players’ belief is a worry and it was clear that he felt Henry’s possible arrival would bring balance.
“You have one defeat and you listen to people: ‘Get the player out, get the manager out.’ Now, they speak of [Roberto] Di Matteo [at Chelsea]. He’s just won the Champions League and FA Cup. It does affect you. When you’re young, it’s more difficult to take a distance. You’re more fragile when you’re younger.”
Theo Walcott will miss the game with the shoulder problem he suffered against Spurs but Kieran Gibbs and Gervinho are expected to be available. .