Arsene Wenger says the statue of Thierry Henry outside Emirates Stadium underlines the enormous impact he has had on the club.
Arsenal will face their all-time leading goalscorer when they play New York Red Bulls on Saturday at a sold out Red Bull Arena.
Wenger was full of praise for his former charge ahead of the game - although he revealed he had to talk his French compatriot into becoming a striker.
"He is a legend at the club, and if you ask every Arsenal fan ‘who is the [key] player of Arsenal?’ they will say Thierry Henry."
“When I first put him at centre forward, he said, ‘Look I cannot score goals’,” the manager told a press conference in New York. “For someone who cannot score goals he has done quite well!
“He is a legend at the club, and if you ask every Arsenal fan ‘who is the [key] player of Arsenal?’ they will say Thierry Henry.
“He has a statue in front of the stadium - I think there are only two or three so that tells you what impact he has made.
“I started him when he was 17 years old at Monaco and now he has already played 17 or 18 years at the top level. He has the technical qualities, a super physique and he is a very bright guy - and that means he learns from the competition.
“He analyses very quickly. He manages to have a good combination of being focused and relaxed, that is an important quality at the top level - a high level of focus but to be relaxed as well. He is calm and cool in front of goal.”
Of Henry's 228 goals for the club, Wenger says his favourite moment came when he scored against Leeds United in his comeback game in January 2012.
“He was so happy,” the manager said. “When he was with us he scored so many goals that it was just everyday business.
“But when he came back and scored that goal it was special because in that moment he put himself in the heart of every Arsenal fan forever.”
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