Arsène Wenger faced the media on Friday ahead of the FA Cup tie against Blackburn Rovers. Here's our round-up of the manager's quotes. For the headlines, visit our Digest page:

on Henry's future as an Arsenal player or coach...
As a player, I think it will be now a bit difficult because he goes to the end of his career. As any other function, why not? I don't know what he wants to do. I believe at the moment, you want him to focus on his career as a player. When he has finished his career as a player, he can still decide what he wants to do.

Eighty to 90 per cent of the players I had here are intelligent and they know football. That means they have the attributes to be a coach. If they really want it, [if it is] the direction they want their life to take, that’s down to them to decide and [to] let people assess your competence. You never know how people behave under pressure, when they are in the job every day. He has the qualities, of course.

on speculation over David Villa...
I’m not on the case. I like the player but, at the moment, we have some immediate targets that are more important to us - that means a win on Saturday.

on whether Gareth Bale was close to joining Arsenal...
It was Walcott and Bale [at Southampton] and we were at some stage [considering] taking the two if possible. We could get Walcott and I am very happy we got him. If I tell you the number of players we did not sign who we should have signed, you would be amazed. But it is the same for every single club, you miss players.

on whether Bale is only behind Messi and Ronaldo...
I wouldn't go as far as that. He has the potential to develop and become like the players that you compare him to. But Ronaldo and Messi, Messi has won two or three Champions League, a few championships, scored 95 goals in a year. Let's not go too quick. You are always very quick [to build someone up], but let's slow down a little bit.


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15 Feb 2013