By Chris Harris
Arsène Wenger was convinced Thierry Henry could still cut it in the Premier League within minutes of watching him train.
The Club's record goalscorer returned to London Colney last month to maintain his fitness ahead of the new MLS season, which starts in March.
Now Henry is on the brink of a dramatic return to the English top flight with a two-month loan deal close to completion.
The 34-year-old is close to following in the footsteps of fellow ‘Invincibles’ Sol Campbell and Jens Lehmann, who recently enjoyed their second stints with the Club. And Wenger made his mind up about Henry's enduring qualities very quickly.
"It was the first day," he said at Friday's press conference.
"I met him when he was 17 years old. I had him here at 22 so I know every movement that he can make. He is a super-intelligent guy and he is a special talent. In our job, you need to have the body to respond to what your brain wants to do. For a while he had some Achilles problems but he is fit again.
"I knew that we needed a short-term solution and [I knew] that he has the quality and capacity to help us out. You do not find players on the planet of this
quality who are available for two months."
Henry's presence in the Arsenal dressing room will undoubtedly help the younger elements of Wenger's squad but the manager fully expects the former skipper to make his mark on the pitch too.
"I felt in South Africa, when he came on [for France] in their last game [of the World Cup], he gave something to the team that the French national team didn’t have.
"He has something. He knows where to be. He knows how to give a problem to the opponent. You never lose that. We will see. I don’t want to put too much pressure on him. He wants to be as discreet as possible and help the team out when it is needed.
"We are on a good run. If he can add something in games, that is what you want. Before he had pace and intelligence. Now he has to use his brain more. He always had both."Copyright 2014 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.arsenal.com as the source 30 Dec 2011