By Richard Clarke

Arsène Wenger would "never say never" to Thierry Henry re-joining Arsenal.

The Frenchman left Emirates Stadium for Barcelona last summer after a record-breaking nine years in which he won two Premier League titles, three FA Cups and scored a record-breaking 226 goals.

The 30-year-old has failed to hit top form in Spain and, speaking this week, said if he were to return to England he'd only ever come to back to Arsenal. Not surprisingly, it was a major talking point at Wenger's pre-match press conference on Friday.

"I read the statement," said the manager. "He said he is happy at Barcelona but if he comes back he will only play at Arsenal. I find that a really very good statement.

"But although you can never say never, at the moment I do not think about [re-signing him].

"However I still think he has a lot to offer as a player. The whole team in Barcelona has not worked completely this year, they were never in the race for the championship. Every player has been a bit devalued. But I still think he has a lot there."

Wenger revealed that Arsenal do NOT have any first option on Henry should he wish to leave the Camp Nou but manager and player are still in close contact.

"I don't put buy-out clauses in the contract of the players that I find," he said. "At that level, I don't even ask to put the buy-out clause in because it's unfair.

"But I had a chat with him not a long time ago. He watches every Arsenal game and he can give me advice!

"When I can, I watch Barcelona because I'm always interested in how he looks, how his sharpness is, in what position he plays. I give him my view about his game.

"For me, Thierry is an efficient goalscorer. But Barca have two or three players [like that] there. What was a little bit damaging to his success at Barcelona is that Ronadinho has not turned up this season, so that the one who can play left wing is Thierry. And that's where he plays. But that's not his preferred position and that's not where he is most efficient."

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Richard Clarke 25 Apr 2008