Sabtu, 31 Desember 2011

Wenger: Henry can give heart and Sol

Arsene Wenger believes Thierry Henry could give Arsenal the same short-term boost provided by Sol Campbell when he returned to the club for a second spell in 2010.

The Arsenal manager has confirmed Henry, the club's all-time record scorer, will sign for the Gunners on a two-month loan deal if insurance agreements can be agreed with current club the New York Red Bulls.

And he hopes the deal will prove as successful as Campbell's 11-match stint two years ago when he filled a defensive void.

Wenger said: "Sol was fantastic when he came back. Sol is like Thierry. Once they are committed you know you can rely on them.

"I remember when we went to Tottenham, Sol was absolutely amazing for a guy who, three weeks before, you wondered if this guy can still play in the Premier League. He had such a capacity to fight. They have that pride. Now we have Thierry, it is a continuity of the special link with our former players."

Wenger, however, warned Arsenal fans not to expect the Henry of 10 years ago, even though he decided after one training session to ask the 34-year-old to rejoin the club.

Wenger said: "You do not find players on the planet of this quality who are available for two months.

"You can never take away from people what they have done, that will remain forever. Nobody expects him to be what he was 10 years ago.

"He is here to help out, not to suddenly be the leader, the main player in the squad. He and I are conscious that he is 34 years old, but he has not lost his class or his brain."

Wenger wants Henry, who is available until the MLS season restarts in March, to fill the supporting striker void which will be left when Marouane Chamakh and Gervinho leave for the African Nations Cup next month, although Arsenal is trying to delay their departure by two days to leave them available for the FA Cup tie against Leeds on January 9.

The Gunners boss insists Henry, who scored 226 times in 370 appearances for the club before moving to Barcelona in June 2007, needs two weeks to be fully match fit but in theory he could be available for seven Premier League matches, including key encounters against Manchester United and Tottenham as well as FA Cup ties and Arsenal's Champions League last-16 encounter against AC Milan.

He said: "The players are all happy that Thierry is coming back. You can always learn in life from people who have the knowledge like he has."

The man who Henry replaced as Arsenal's record scorer, Ian Wright, believes that Wenger should try and make the move a permanent one.

Writing in the Sun today, he said: "I don't like the fact that it is a two-month loan - it seems a bit weird.

"He could blitz Spurs in his final game then everyone would be on a downer if he left.

"So for this reason, Wenger should try to make his move permanent if he does superbly. Henry should finish his career at the club and then take a role behind the scenes, like Patrick Vieira has done at Manchester City.

News on England midfielder Jack Wilshere's ankle injury is also positive with a February return date a possibility.

Theo Walcott, who missed the draw against Wolves on Tuesday, has recovered from illness and is expected to return against QPR.

Defender Bacary Sagna (broken leg) is on schedule to return at the end of January along with fellow full-back Kieran Gibbs (stomach).

Carl Jenkinson remains sidelined with a back problem, while Brazilian left-sided player Andre Santos (ankle) is expected to be sidelined until March.

QPR manager Neil Warnock has no fresh injury concerns.

The Rs came out unscathed from their 1-1 draw at Swansea, meaning Warnock could name the same squad for the short trip to north London.

Anton Ferdinand continues to miss out in defence with a hamstring injury, while Armand Traore, Matt Connolly and Jay Bothroyd will all be hoping to feature against their former club.

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