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26 May 2024

Henry may stay at Arsenal till end of season

New York Red Bulls striker Thierry Henry rejoined Arsenal on a two-month loan. (FILE)

By Agencies

Arsene Wenger is mulling the prospect of retaining Thierry Henry till the end of the season as Arsenal target a top-four finish in the league.

The New York Red Bulls striker has rejoined Arsenal on a two-month loan but there is a possibility a longer deal could be agreed.

Speaking ahead of the FA Cup third-round clash against Leeds on Monday, the Gunners boss revealed his main priority was qualifying for the Champions League.

Wenger mauy be under pressure to end Arsenal’s seven-year wait for silverware but the Frenchman will always put the Champions League first.

He said: "The basis of our life at the top level is dictated by the championship.

"If we can add on top of that the FA Cup it is fantastic.

"If, on the last day of the season, you ask me do you play the final of the FA Cup or do you play for the final game that qualifies for the Champions League.
"For us it's not comparable, the FA Cup and Champions League.

"The Champions League is compulsory. The FA Cup is for enjoyment."

Should Henry hit the ground running in his spell back at the Gunners then Wenger is almost certain to try to make the Frenchman stay.

When David Beckham joined AC Milan in similar circumstances from LA Galaxy three years ago he ended up staying until the end of the season.
And Wenger said: "Milan might have negotiated that in advance but we have not done that.
"We have promised that we send the player back so we have not spoken about that at all."
But the Gunners boss is still hoping he may have to broach the subject — and ask New York for an extension.

Wenger revealed he will rest top scorer Robin van Persie against Leeds so in the absence of Gervinho and Marouane Chamakh, Henry may even start against the Yorkshire side at the Emirates.
Arsenal have not won a trophy since the 2005 FA Cup but Wenger insisted that the club's lack of silverware did not mean failure.
He added: "It has always looked like 'Ah, you have not won a trophy so you have been nowhere for five years'.
"But in the same five years we have been in the semi-finals of the Champions League and final of the Champions League.
"You will realise one day that it is not as easy as it looks and this year we are again one of the two teams who qualified."
Wenger, who has won three titles and the FA Cup four times with Arsenal, claimed he does not even know where any of his medals are.
He said: "I don't know where I have my medals.

"I don't think I keep them. I don't know where 'The Invincibles' medal is because it's more important what is in front of you."
Wenger admits the players want winners’ medals especially after losing the Carling Cup final last season.

“That’s why we fight for it,” he said.