Thierry Henry is making his return to Arsenal.
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger said Friday that the former France captain will sign for the team in a two-month loan deal once an insurance agreement is reached with the New York Red Bulls, the Major League Soccer club Henry currently plays for, according to reports.
Wenger made the move to fill the gap left by the impending departures of Gervinho and Marouane Chamakh to the African Cup of Nations next month. Henry, who scored a club-record 226 goals in eight years with the team from 1999-2007, had a bronze statue dedicated to him just three weeks ago outside Emirates Stadium.
To cover for two months is ideal, said Wenger to reporters. He has the experience and the quality. He knows the club and can help the players on and off the pitch.
Henry, 34, who has been training with Arsenal during the MLS offseason, established himself as a superstar with Arsenal, leading the way to two Premier League titles and three FA Cups, before moving to Barcelona for three seasons and then joining the New York Red Bulls last year.
According to the Vancouver Sun, Henry's debut is likely to come against Leeds United in the third round of the FA Cup on Jan. 9 or the Premier League match at Swansea on Jan. 15.
Henry hasn't been the same since his prime days in Arsenal, but Wenger, who seems to attest to that same sentiment, told reporters that while Henry wouldn't be the main player on the squad, he would still be an exceptional talent with proven intelligence.
You and I are conscious that he is 34 years old but he has not lost his class or his brain, Wenger said. That will be just enough for us.
By all estimation, Henry will likely be the understudy to star Dutch striker Robin van Persie, who has scored 16 Premier league goals this season. Arsenal's next best option up front is likely South Korea captain Park Ju-young, who has struggled for first-team chances since his move from Monaco in the offseason.
Even Tottenham manager Harry Redknapp thinks Henry's experience and presence in the Arsenal dressing room could boost the club's chances of improving on their current rank of fifth in the Barclays Premier League.
It's fantastic for them, Redknapp said of Arsenal. He is one of the great players in the history of the Premier League. I'm sure he will be a good signing for Arsenal for a couple of months. He will be good to have around the place. It's important to have people like that around your club and in the dressing room. They're good on the pitch and off it too. He is a top-class professional.