Thierry Henry has today rejoined Arsenal on a short-term loan deal.
After negotiations between Arsenal, Henry, the New York Red Bulls and Major League Soccer, the striker will team up with the Gunners on a temporary basis during a period of fixtures in January and February that will see Gervinho and Marouane Chamakh depart for Africa Cup of Nations duty.
Henry, who made 370 appearances for the Club and is the Gunners’ all-time leading goalscorer with 226 goals, has been maintaining his fitness at London Colney since November during the MLS off-season.
Speaking about the deal, Arsène Wenger, said: “I am very happy. It was my desire and Thierry’s desire. We will have Thierry for January and in February. Then he will go back to the United States. I am sure during these two months he will be a massive asset to the team in the dressing room and on the pitch. He can be relaxed, not under too much pressure and be a tremendous help to the team.”
Henry initially joined Arsenal from Juventus in August 1999. Arsène Wenger transformed Henry from a winger into one of the finest strikers in the world. He was an integral part of the 2003/04 ‘Invincibles’ who went a whole season unbeaten and during his eight years at the Club between 1999 and 2007 he won two Premier League Championships, two FA Cups, the Premier League ‘Golden Boot’ on four occasions and the PFA Player of the Year twice. Fittingly, on 7th May 2006, he scored the last ever goal at Highbury.
In June 2007 he transferred to Barcelona where he won further honours, including a League, Cup and Champions League treble in 2009. In 2010, he joined the New York Red Bulls and helped them to the Eastern Conference title in his first season, as well as the pre-season Emirates Cup in July this year at Emirates Stadium.
In 2008, Henry was voted as the greatest Arsenal player of all-time in an extensive Arsenal.com poll of tens of thousands of Gunners fans from all over the world. In recognition of his outstanding contribution, the Club marked its recent 125th anniversary by unveiling a bronze statue of the Frenchman at the south east corner of Emirates Stadium, depicting his famous celebration after scoring against Tottenham Hotspur at Highbury in November 2002.
Henry has enjoyed similar success at international level, having won the 1998 World Cup, Euro 2000 and 2003 FIFA Confederations Cup. In October 2007, he surpassed Michel Platini's record to become France’s all-time record goalscorer. Henry retired from international football after the 2010 World Cup.
After signing the loan deal, Henry said: "It is unreal to be honest. But when it comes to Arsenal my heart will always do the talking. Once I knew the plan behind it I was OK with it. I am not coming here to be a hero or prove anything. I am just coming here to help. People have to understand that. Marouane and Gervinho are going to the Africa Cup of Nations, so I was asked to fill in the gap. It is a loan deal and I’ll be on the bench most of the time. If I can make the bench that is! The Boss has a team here already who are doing something good. I am just going to be part of the squad.
Henry continued: "I want to send a message to the fans of New York Red Bulls as well. I always said I would not play in Europe again. But it is hard for me when it comes to Arsenal. I am not coming here for the whole season, I will be back and I want to win the MLS Cup with the Red Bulls. I hope it is a win-win situation where I can help Arsenal and come back fit for the MLS season."
Thierry is scheduled to remain with Arsenal on loan throughout January and into February, when he will rejoin his New York Red Bulls team-mates in preparation for the new MLS season, which kicks off on March 10.
Thierry will be available for selection for the FA Cup Third Round match against Leeds United on Monday night.
Thierry will wear the No 12 shirt during his time back with the Club.
Born: 17 August 1977 (Les Ulis, Essonne, France)
Arsenal Career: 1999-2007
Club Appearances: 370
Club Goals: 226 (all-time Club record)
Honours as an Arsenal player: FA Premier League: 2001/02, 2003/04, FA Cup: 2002, 2003, 2005, FA Community Shield: 2001/02, 2003/04