Déjà vu: Wenger plotting to bring back talisman Henry in January

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The Independent Online

Arsène Wenger is considering another return for Arsenal legend Thierry Henry. Arsenal's all-time leading goalscorer played for the Gunners during the Major League Soccer break last January, and Wenger revealed yesterday that the New York Red Bulls striker had been training at London Colney recently.

"He has been practising with us, three times," Wenger said. "They [New York] go on a tour of Venezuela for 10 days, they come back after. 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 said that he would decide on whether to bring Henry, 35, back "in January". The striker returned last season, making seven appearances in January and February. He scored twice: the only goal in a 1-0 FA Cup defeat of Leeds United, and an added-time winner at Sunderland in the Premier League.

Gervinho's absence at the African Cup of Nations was one of the reasons Wenger brought Henry back, and the same could be true again this year.

"I had always resisted [re-signing Henry]," Wenger said. "Last year I did it because we lost Gervinho. It was a good connection. This year we lose Gervinho again as they are playing in the African Cup of Nations two years in a row. So we will be confronted with a shortage. Particularly if [Marouane] Chamakh should go, I cannot stand in his way. Then we will be short."

Henry is an Arsenal legend, having scored 228 goals across his two spells at the club. Last year, for Arsenal's 125th anniversary celebrations, a statue of him was unveiled outside the Emirates Stadium, an honour bestowed on only one other player, the former captain Tony Adams. Henry won two Premier League titles and three FA Cups at the club.

Wenger said that his return would not only bring more to the team, but his experience would be useful for Arsenal's emerging players. "You know what he gives you," Wenger said. "He gives you hope. Especially when he comes on. That is the most important thing. He is a communicator. An extrovert. Very intelligent. He can only give good advice to players because he was in their position when he arrived here. I think now, this team has an exceptionally good character. There are not many flashy boys."

Arsenal have an important match tonight, against Montpellier at home in the Champions League. If they win this evening, and Schalke beat Olympiakos then Arsenal will confirm their qualification for the last 16.

"The Schalke game, at home [when Arsenal lost 2-0], puts us under pressure to deliver," Wenger said. "We cannot afford to let happen what happened against Schalke."

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