Déjà vu: Arsène Wenger plots another return for Arsenal legend Thierry Henry

Arsenal manager admits interest in re-signing record goalscorer on loan in January

Arsène Wenger is considering another return for Arsenal legend Thierry Henry in January.

Arsenal’s all-time leading goalscorer played for the Gunners during the Major League Soccer break last January, and Wenger revealed 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 explained. “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, 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.”

Even after everything Henry has achieved, Wenger praised him for remaining hungry for competition, comparing him to Jonny Wilkinson, the English rugby player now in France with Toulon.

“What is the most important thing it is not whether you are an extrovert but what it means to you to do well, your job. Your will to win,” Wenger said. “I saw last night Wilkinson, for example, on Canal+ in France. When you see the dedication... he is not an extrovert, but when you see the dedication the top, top players show in their sport, that’s what you want – multiplied by 25.’”

Arsenal have an important match, 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 against Montpellier,” Wenger said.

“We cannot afford to let happen what happened against Schalke. Fortunately we had a good result on Saturday [against Tottenham] and I think that will help us going into the game. You could see before the Tottenham game that the dynamics, the confidence was better again. Hopefully that will be a good basis to build on. Circumstances went a bit for us on Saturday but what is important is to win the game and to build and lift the confidence.”

“What we know is what we want,” he added. “We want to win because we have a good opportunity to finish the job in qualifying tomorrow night. A win is essential of course. It could get us over the line.”

Arsenal’s evening may be easier thanks to the improved form of Olivier Giroud. The French centre-forward, who joined from Montpellier in the summer, has scored five goals in his last five games and seems to be well settled in English football.

“There are many factors,” explained Wenger of Giroud’s early woes. “The first one, I believe physically he worked very hard when he arrived here. The intensity of the games took a lot out of him.  The second problem was a bit understanding with your partners. The third problem was a level of confidence. When you come to a club like Arsenal, you’re surrounded by big names. It takes you a while to think ‘OK I belong to this world’ and he has shown that on that level he has gained a lot.”

Clearly, adjusting to English football is difficult but Per Mertesacker, now in his second season at Arsenal, has achieved it and is enjoying his football.

“Yes of course I had a very difficult first season with all the settling in and the new things at Arsenal,” he said yesterday. “It was quite tough for me but now I feel much more comfortable with the situation, with the season, with opponents, with our team as well, with the game we play.”

Mertesacker hopes that the defeat of Spurs will help Arsenal’s form in the crucial next few weeks. “We needed a great game, or a good game, to get our confidence back. We had that game on Saturday, so we have to focus now on what we have done this season. That is the main part of our game now: the team performance and the focus on our defensive level.”

News
Ian Thorpe had Rio 2016 in his sights
people
Sport
Jonathan de Guzman of the Netherlands and Willian of Brazil compete for the ball
world cup 2014LIVE BLOG: Hosts Brazil take on the Netherlands in third-place play-off
Sport
Thiago Silva pulls Arjen Robben back to concede a penalty
world cup 2014Brazil 0 Netherlands 3: More misery for hosts as Dutch take third place
News
Tommy Ramone performing at The Old Waldorf Nightclub in 1978 in San Francisco, California.
peopleDrummer Tommy was last surviving member of seminal band
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
Swimsuit, £245, by Agent Provocateur
fashion

Diving in at the deep end is no excuse for shirking the style stakes

Life and Style
Several male celebrities have confessed to being on a diet, including, from left to right, Hugh Grant, Benedict Cumberbatch and Ryan Reynolds
life...and the weight loss industry is rubbing its hands in glee
Voices
Spectators photograph the Tour de France riders as they make their way through the Yorkshire countryside
voicesHoward Jacobson: Line the streets for a cycling race? You might just as well watch a swarm of wasps
Life and Style
lifeHere's one answer to an inquisitive Reddit user's question
Arts and Entertainment
'Eminem's recovery from substance abuse has made him a more potent performer, with physical charisma and energy he never had before'
arts + entsReview: Wembley Stadium ***
Sport
Joe Root and James Anderson celebrate their record-beaking partnership
cricketEngland's last-wicket stand against India rewrites the history books
News
peopleDave Legeno, the actor who played werewolf Fenrir Greyback in the Harry Potter films, has died
Caption competition
Caption competition
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily World Cup Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting
Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

In the final part of our series, Chris Green arrives in Glasgow - a host city struggling to keep the politics out of its celebration of sport
Out in the cold: A writer spends a night on the streets and hears the stories of the homeless

A writer spends a night on the streets

Rough sleepers - the homeless, the destitute and the drunk - exist in every city. Will Nicoll meets those whose luck has run out
Striking new stations, high-speed links and (whisper it) better services - the UK's railways are entering a new golden age

UK's railways are entering a new golden age

New stations are opening across the country and our railways appear to be entering an era not seen in Britain since the early 1950s
Conchita Wurst becomes a 'bride' on the Paris catwalk - and proves there is life after Eurovision

Conchita becomes a 'bride' on Paris catwalk

Alexander Fury salutes the Eurovision Song Contest winner's latest triumph
Pétanque World Championship in Marseilles hit by

Pétanque 'world cup' hit by death threats

This year's most acrimonious sporting event took place in France, not Brazil. How did pétanque get so passionate?
Whelks are healthy, versatile and sustainable - so why did we stop eating them in the UK?

Why did we stop eating whelks?

Whelks were the Victorian equivalent of the donor kebab and our stocks are abundant. So why do we now export them all to the Far East?
10 best women's sunglasses

In the shade: 10 best women's sunglasses

From luxury bespoke eyewear to fun festival sunnies, we round up the shades to be seen in this summer
Germany vs Argentina World Cup 2014: Lionel Messi? Javier Mascherano is key for Argentina...

World Cup final: Messi? Mascherano is key for Argentina...

No 10 is always centre of attention but Barça team-mate is just as crucial to finalists’ hopes
Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer knows she needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

18-year-old says this month’s Commonwealth Games are a key staging post in her career before time slips away
The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

A future Palestine state will have no borders and be an enclave within Israel, surrounded on all sides by Israeli-held territory, says Robert Fisk
A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: The German people demand an end to the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

The German people demand an end to the fighting
New play by Oscar Wilde's grandson reveals what the Irish wit said at his trials

New play reveals what Oscar Wilde said at trials

For a century, what Wilde actually said at his trials was a mystery. But the recent discovery of shorthand notes changed that. Now his grandson Merlin Holland has turned them into a play
Can scientists save the world's sea life from

Can scientists save our sea life?

By the end of the century, the only living things left in our oceans could be plankton and jellyfish. Alex Renton meets the scientists who are trying to turn the tide
Richard III, Trafalgar Studios, review: Martin Freeman gives highly intelligent performance

Richard III review

Martin Freeman’s psychotic monarch is big on mockery but wanting in malice