As soon as Olivier Giroud revealed that Thierry Henry was training with Arsenal in late November there was an inevitable flurry of rumours linking our greatest ever goal scorer with a second loan return in quick succession.
Strangely, unlike last year, Arsene Wenger appeared happy to coax the speculation along by refusing to rule out such a move. Alas, since his initial comments the boss and several other parties have played down the prospect of Thierry ruling the Emirates roost for a third time.
Here’s how things have panned out…
Wenger: “He has been practising with us. “Will I sign him again in January? I don’t know. I don’t rule it out. He is sharp.
“Last year I did it because we lost Gervinho. It was a good connection. This year we lose Gervinho again as they are playing in the Africa Cup of Nations two years in a row.
“So we will be confronted with a shortage. Particularly if Chamakh should go. I cannot stand in his way. Then we will be short.”
New York Red Bulls sporting director Andy Roxburgh: “In general terms, I wouldn’t say it would be something we would (favour).
“I think the length of the season we have here, when they get the break over the Christmas, New Year’s period, they need to regenerate themselves. I’d say in general we wouldn’t be too positive about letting them go.’’
Wenger: “I just spoke about that because people asked me. I said I don’t rule it out because he’s in good shape but I haven’t made up my mind yet.
“I haven’t spoken to Thierry about it. I just answered a question honestly that I have not completely decided how I will sort it out in my head.
“We are maybe looking at a striker because Gervinho is going to the Africa Cup of Nations.”
Wenger: “At the moment I have not much time to think because we play many games.”
Wenger: “There is no development at all. I just didn’t want to say no because if I say no when I’m asked the question, I can never do it. At the moment, that’s not envisaged at all.”
New York Red Bull official tells mlssoccer.com: “No club has made a request for a loan for any of our players.”
Wenger: “I cannot tell you anything about it because nothing has happened.”
The latest comments from Gerard Houllier, recently installed as New York Red Bull’s Head of Global Soccer, pour further cold water on any suggestion that Henry will be playing in North London this January.
“I find it strange what we hear in the media. If Arsene needed him, he would have called me or Andy Roxburgh, but this is not the case.
“I do not think both parties need to have this second comeback. Moreover he has become a dad again. I think he will appreciate this truce.”
Arseblog News can’t help but think the evidence stacks up against an Henry return in 2013. Granted there was similar scepticism on the part of Wenger this time last year, but the key difference was the fact that New York Red Bulls weren’t against such a temporary arrangement. This year, quite rightly, they’re worried about their star man’s creaking bones.
What is obvious is that Arsenal need a striker (or four). Gervinho and Chamakh may be as incisive as a sponge knife, but with the former called up to play in the African Cup of Nations and the latter barely ever named on the bench we’re down to Giroud, Podolski and players who might need written consent from their parents.
It’s time to act Arsene.