Henry stalls on signing new deal

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The Independent Football

The 28-year-old has been offered a deal which would make him the highest-paid player in the club's history. But despite recently saying that he wants to stay in north London it appears he still wants to see if Arsenal's "sporting ambition" matches his own before making a final decision.

Earlier this year it seemed certain that Henry would leave for Barcelona - the only club he is likely to abandon Arsenal for - although now the striker, having canvassed opinion among friends and advisers as to how his departure would be viewed, is waiting to see how Arsenal's season finishes.

Henry is also understood to have indicated that he wants his future resolved before he leaves for France's World Cup training camp in May. The Arsenal manager, Arsène Wenger, said: "The only information I can give you is that Thierry Henry has not signed an extension to his contract. That means still he is linked with Arsenal Football Club until 2007 and not for longer and not for shorter as well."

Wenger also called on referees to stamp out diving by suspending guilty players retrospectively. Chelsea's Shaun Wright-Phillips is the latest to be accused of diving in order to get an opponent sent off.

Wenger said: "We have to fight it and there is only one way to punish people diving obviously - suspension. Once it is in the game it is difficult to ge out. Once a guy knows he might be punished he will not dive."

Arsenal are not immune to the charge - Jose Antonio Reyes and Robert Pires have faced similar accusations recently.

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