Dec. 30 (Bloomberg) -- Thierry Henry will return to Arsenal for a two-month loan period if the Gunners can reach an insurance agreement with his U.S. soccer team, manager Arsene Wenger said today.
Henry scored a club record 226 goals for Arsenal before leaving for Barcelona in 2007. He’d rejoin the club from Major League Soccer’s New York Red Bulls as cover for strikers Marouane Chamakh and Gervinho, who depart for the African Cup of Nations next month.
“I know one thing, it can only be positive because he is an exceptional talent and has a desire to help the club,” Wenger said during a televised news conference, adding that “all the paperwork is not done.”
Henry, 34, would join an Arsenal team battling for a top- four Premier League finish and a berth in the Champions League, European soccer’s elite club competition. The Gunners are currently in fifth place, one point behind Chelsea.
Speculation over the possible return of Henry, who became an icon for Arsenal supporters after helping the team win two league championships, has gathered pace since he started working out with his former club after the MLS season ended in November. The new U.S. campaign begins in March.
Wenger said Henry requires “two good weeks’ work” before he could be considered for selection.
“He is still class and quality,” Wenger, who bought Henry to the U.K. from Italy’s Juventus in 1999, said. “I don’t worry about him at all.”
Since Henry’s departure, the top striker’s role has been taken on by Robin van Persie. The Netherlands national team player is two goals short of breaking the Premier League record of 36 in a calendar year heading into tomorrow’s home game against Queens Park Rangers.
“When they play together they will do very well,” Wenger said. “It is two good players who can get the ball and score so why shouldn’t they work well together?”
Henry was third in scoring in MLS last season with 16 goals.
--Editors: Bob Bensch, Alex Duff.
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