Manager Arsene Wenger confirmed Friday that Red Bulls attacker Thierry Henry, who has been training with the Gunners during the MLS offseason, will re-join his former club on loan starting next week.
Henry scored a club-record 226 goals in eight years (1999-2007) at Arsenal and was a member of the 2003-04 team that went unbeaten through the Premier League season. The Gunners will lose Gervinho and Marouane Chamakh during the African Cup of Nations next month and Wenger needs some backup. “To cover for two months is ideal,” Wenger said. “He has the experience and the quality. He knows the club and can help the players on and off the pitch.”
Henry joined Arsenal from Juventus in 1999 and left in 2007 as one of the most popular players in the club's long history. On Dec. 9, he was moved to tears when a statue of him, along with former defender Tony Adams and legendary manager Herbert Chapman, were unveiled outside the club's Emirates Stadium. He came to MLS in 2010 after struggling to establish himself in Pep Guardiola's powerful Barcelona lineup. “You and I are conscious that he is 34 years old but he has not lost his class or his brain,” Wenger said. “That will be just enough for us.”
Henry has shown enough in training with the Gunners to impress them, including German international defender Per Mertesacker. "In training, he shows his class and to have him with us is great because he shows his attitude, his experience," said Mertesacker. "He still has the same attitude he showed in a lot of games at Arsenal."
The club is also reportedly eyeing German striker Lucas Podolski as a transfer target in support of forward Robin van Persie, who can break Henry's club record of 34 goals in a calendar year if he scores Saturday against Queen's Park Rangers.