Henry poised for sensational return to Arsenal

Negotiations between Thierry Henry and Arsenal are at an advanced stage. (FILE)

Thierry Henry is going full throttle to make a sensational return to Arsenal to stand in for Robin van Persie, according to reports in the British press.

The Arsenal legend could be snapped up on a short-term contract at the Emirates while his New York Red Bulls side have their winter break.

Gunners boss Arsene Wenger does not believe van Persie can start two games in three days against QPR on Saturday and at Fulham 48 hours later.

Wenger may even rest the Dutchman against QPR – which could deny the Arsenal skipper his final shot at breaking Alan Shearer’s Premier League record of 36 goals in a calendar year.

There are concerns van Persie looked tired in the draw with Wolves and Wenger does not want his captain to be left vulnerable to injury.

That has only heightened Arsenal’s determination to re-sign Henry, 34, on a short-term loan from New York Red Bulls for six weeks as cover for their star striker.

The deal looks set to happen as soon as the transfer window opens on January 1, Mirror Football reported.

Henry is in talks with Arsenal and is due to step up his training with the club to get him ready to make a sensational return. Arsenal’s record goalscorer will follow Sol Campbell and Jens Lehmann in rejoining the club in recent seasons.
 
Arsenal will have to pay his £70,000-a-week wages, cover his insurance and get the deal signed off by New York Red Bulls.

But negotiations are well advanced and Wenger is confident it will happen.

Henry could even be ready to play against Leeds in the FA Cup on January 9

German centre-half Per Mertesacker wants Arsenal to re-sign Henry and then go all out for Lukas Podolski.

Mertesacker said: "I am very happy training with him (Henry), very happy. He is playing very, very good. I am happy to play against him in training and it is a great experience.

"He is a great opportunity for us, but I'm not the manager, I couldn't find a decision or what is possible for him or for us.

"In training he shows his class and to have him with us is great because he shows his attitude, his experience. He still has the same attitude he showed in a lot of games at Arsenal."

Henry is the club's record goal scorer and Arsenal recently put up a statue of the Frenchman outside the Emirates to mark his achievements.

But Wenger's longer term and more permanent ideas include 26-year-old German striker Podolski who Arsenal have been scouting for months.

Podolski is top of the list especially as Arsenal will lose Marouane Chamakh and Gervinho to the African Nations Cup while Zenit St Petersburg are monitoring out-of-form Andrey Arshavin.

Mertesacker made no secret of his admiration for his international team mate and joked Podolski would quickly persuade Arsenal fans to like German players.

"Of course, of course. He is a great player, especially for the national team," said Mertesacker. "He scores a lot of goals, he's a good striker with a very good finish with his left foot.

"His left foot is unbelievable and I'm a fan. This year, he has scored a lot of goals. He is powerful as well, he's a great player. You see, new Germans are not so bad!"

It is understood that Podolski would jump at the chance of moving to Arsenal if they can persuade Cologne to sell in January.

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