Arsene Wenger: I’d love to extend Thierry Henry’s stay at Arsenal
Arsene Wenger admits he wanted to extend Thierry Henry's loan at Arsenal but the striker must return to America on 16 February
Arsene Wenger has confirmed that Thierry Henry’s loan spell at Arsenal will end when the French striker returns to New York Red Bulls on 16 February.
The 34-year-old sealed a return to the Gunners during the January transfer window and scored the winner in their 1-0 victory over Leeds in the FA Cup third round, before netting Arsenal’s seventh against Blackburn last weekend.
Reports had suggested Wenger would extend Henry’s loan deal but the Arsenal boss has now ruled out that possibility.
“There is clarification, it will be February 16 when he returns. The day after the game in Milan,” Wenger told the club’s website.
“I would have loved him to stay for two more weeks but he has to go back. He is captain of the Red Bulls, so just to appear on the first day of the season would be unfair to them.
“We accepted at the start that we would release him on February 16 so we respect our word. He thinks as well that it would be too late to remain for two more weeks.”
The 62-year-old manager has been impressed by Henry’s impact at Arsenal and suggested the Gunners’ all-time top goalscorer is still good enough to play for France.
“He was happy to be here and all the players were happy to have him around,” he added.
“In training he looks better every week. He is now back to a fitness level comparable to all the other players. His movement in training makes me think it is a shame he does not play for the national team any more.”