LONDON (AFP) – Arsene Wenger backed Thierry Henry to enhance his legendary status at Arsenal after the New York Red Bulls striker rejoined the Gunners on a two-month loan deal on Friday.
The 34-year-old Frenchman has been training with the Londoners since the close of the MLS season in November and recently had a statue of him unveiled at the Emirates Stadium to underline his enduring popularity at the club.
Henry made 370 appearances for Arsenal during his previous stint and remains the club’s all-time leading goalscorer with 226 goals.
Wenger believes Henry’s return will be win-win for both Arsenal and the player.
“You cannot take away from people what they have done, and what he has delivered will stay forever. It can just make the statue a bit bigger. Let us hope he will do that,” Wenger said.
“Thierry is a world-class player and even at this club, a player of that dimension is always very difficult to find, especially at this period of the season. He can just add something more to the team. Who would turn down a player of his quality?
“We have a good spirit in the side and he will add something more, experience-wise, and on the nervy side as well, when we are under pressure.
“That is a good addition because he knows the club, he knows the league, and it is only positive.”
Henry joined Arsenal from Juventus in 1999, developing into one of the world’s best attackers under the guidance of Wenger.
He was a member of the club’s double-winning team in 2002 and part of the legendary ‘Invincibles’ side in 2004 that went a whole season unbeaten.
He left for Barcelona in 2007 and won a treble of La Liga, Copa del Rey and Champions League titles with the Catalan club in 2009 before heading to Major League Soccer in 2010.
Henry said the speed of the Arsenal deal had taken him by surprise.
“It did happen pretty fast but when it comes down to Arsenal, it is pretty hard for me to say no,” Henry said.
“I am not here to be a hero and people do have to understand that. We have a team here, the boss has a team here that are in a good position compared to what happened at the beginning.
“I am here to help the boss and the guys that need me.”