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Speculation grows that Thierry Henry will leave Arsenal
by Paul Kennedy, June 21st, 2007 7AM

TAGS:  england, france, spain


[TRANSFER TALK] Will Thierry Henry leave Arsenal for Barcelona?

There has been rampant speculation that Henry, reportedly unhappy about the Gunners' future, has signed an agreement with Barca on a three-year contract (plus an option year) worth $11 million a year. There's even been talk that Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger, who brought Henry to Highbury in 1999, would take over for Frank Rijkaard as coach at Barcelona.

Only last year, Henry rejected Barcelona's advances, signing an extension through the 2009-10 season.

"I've never played in Spain and never will," Henry said at the time. "This is my last contract."

According to France Football, Henry's agent Jerome Anderson and Barca sports director Txiki Beguiristain reached an agreement in principle on a contract, and Barcelona would then have to reach an agreement on a transfer fee with Arsenal. Talks on a transfer fee would probably begin at $30 million. An Henry representative denied the report, but speculation continues that Henry could be on the move.

Patrick Vieira, Henry's teammate on the French national team and former teammate at Arsenal, believes the shock resignation of vice-chairman David Dein, a close family friend of Henry's and Wenger's strongest ally at Arsenal, could hasten a major shakeup at Arsenal. Dein, whose children are very close to Henry, departed in a dispute with other shareholders over the role of new shareholder Stanley Kroenke, the American businessman who owns MLS's Colorado Rapids.

The prospect of Henry joining Barca creates the possibility of the French star lining up with Ronaldinho, Samuel Eto'o and Lionel Messi.

"He is a great mate of mine and we will play all together," Eto'o was quoted as saying by British newspapers. "There is room for everybody."

Eto'o is close to Henry, and Barca president Joan Laporta announced this week that Eto'o would remain at the Catalan club, despite the interest of AC Milan in the Cameroon star.

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