Gunners all-time top goalscorer Thierry Henry has admitted that a third spell in North London was never on the cards despite speculation that he was about to repeat last years short loan spell to help out in the striking department.
Many expected a temporary deal to come to fruition after the Frenchman linked up with Arsene Wenger’s side to keep fit over the MLS off-season, and Wenger even admitted that a short-term spell could be on the cards when Gervinho left for the African Nations Cup, Chamakh went out on loan and Arsenal were left with the then-inconsistent Olivier Giroud and inexperienced striker Theo Walcott.
But nevertheless nothing has eventuated and the New York Red Bulls striker has stressed that he never came close to a third stint at his favourite club. Henry told Al Jazeera:
It was never in the air (that I would return), despite the speculation. I never spoke to the boss about it and he never mentioned it to me so it was not an issue.
It was never meant to happen that I went back last year either. I was just training and then it happened and it was great to play with great players, work under the manager again.
I still love the club and I would say that in the eight seasons I played there, we had some great memories. There were some bad ones along the way, but you always try to remember the good ones.
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The 35-year-old also confirmed that he expects to see out the remaining two years of his contract with New York Red Bulls before retiring if he manages to avoid injury, but he also admitted that playing in the American league is a step down from the top European leagues, majority of which he has played in. He added:
It’s difficult to compare and I don’t want to be harsh, but you cannot compare playing in the Premier League, in Spain, Italy or France and playing in the MLS. I’m not having a go at the MLS, but you cannot compare.
The league is progressing really well. We have a lot of players who want to come here now and when you see the commitment of a guy like Beckham, it is progressing.
Ideally, it would be great if you didn’t have a salary cap and only having a few guys who can earn above that. It is a very hard one to deal with. Imagine if you said to Barcelona they could only have three players on a salary cap? But this is the way it is and you have to accept it.
I have been very fortunate in my career because I have not had any big injuries, so hopefully two more years. I would love to win the MLS before I finish and hopefully we can do it.
Many would have presumed that if Wenger failed to bring in Henry for another loan stint then he would look for a permanent alternative to help bolster the attacking lineup which is lacking depth. The Frenchman would have been useful in the changing room and for squad rotation, however he was never going to be the answer to Arsenal’s striking issues. Currently Arsenal are managing with Giroud as the spearhead with Theo Walcott looking like he will maintain his position on the wing, his cameos up front may have been part of Wenger’s scheme to secure his signature during the contract debacle. But (if heaven forbid) Giroud or Walcott were sustain an injury or fall out of form then the Gunners would be (for a lack of better words) absolutely screwed.
With two full days left to go in the transfer window and Wenger earlier promising two signings it is hard to see Arsenal bringing in a great coup especially with the Liverpool fixture on Wednesday evening. Lets just hope that he has something up his sleeve otherwise the Gunners may well have to settle for the Europa League next season.