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Wenger confirms Henry to return


Arsene Wenger and Thierry Henry

Arsene Wenger and Thierry Henry

Arsene Wenger and Thierry Henry

Arsene Wenger has warned Arsenal fans not to expect the Thierry Henry of 10 years ago if the legendary striker rejoins the club as expected on a two-month loan deal.

The Arsenal manager confirmed Henry will sign for the Gunners, for who he scored 226 times in 370 appearances before moving to Barcelona in June 2007, dependent on insurance agreements being worked out with New York Red Bulls.

And Wenger revealed it was his idea to bring back the 34-year-old, saying: "You can never take away from people what they have done, that will remain forever. Nobody expects him to be what he was 10 years ago, we just want him to help out."

He added: "I think it is just credit to him to be wanting to be helpful to a club that has given him so much. Therefore I feel there is no special pressure to be the player he was before.

"You cannot put too much pressure on him. He is here to help out, not to suddenly be the leader, the main player in the squad, and I respect his desire to help us get through a period where we lose two strikers.

"He and I are conscious that he is 34 years old, but he has not lost his class or his brain. That will be just enough for us."

Wenger wants Henry, who is available until the MLS season restarts in March, to fill the supporting striker void which will be left when Marouane Chamakh and Gervinho leave for the African Nations Cup next month, although Arsenal are trying to delay their departure by two days to leave them available for the FA Cup tie against Leeds on January 9.

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The Gunners boss insists Henry needs two weeks to be fully match fit but in theory he could be available for seven Premier League matches, including key encounters against Manchester United and Tottenham as well as FA Cup ties and Arsenal's Champions League last-16 encounter against AC Milan.

On Henry's return, Wenger added: "He (Henry) still has his pace, because he always had exceptional pace. What you lose with age is the capacity to repeat it. He still has class and quality. I don't worry about him at all. He is there to help, nothing else.

"When we need him he will come on and play. He wants to help out for two months, because this is a club he loves. He has exceptional talent, he is a very intelligent man and has a desire to help the club, so it can only be positive."

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