Arsene Wenger said no one can take away Thierry Henry’s achievements at Arsenal even if his second spell is unsuccessful.
The Gunners manager also said the striker, who has rejoined Arsenal on a two-month loan deal from the New York Red Bulls, is still a world-class talent – and he is delighted to have signed a player of his quality at this stage of the season.
“No, 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’s hope he will do that,” Wenger told the Arsenal website.
“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. Certainly he is one of the best signings I have made. It is difficult to compare defenders and strikers, but one of the best for sure.”
Wenger is adamant that the entire Arsenal squad is pleased Henry has re-joined the club, and believes the 34-year-old’s experience will be vital at this crucial stage of the season.
“Everybody is happy that he has joined the team,” Wenger said.
“We should not put too much emphasis on that.”
“Everybody is happy that he is with us, he can help off the pitch, on the pitch, but basically he is a football player so you want him to help especially on the pitch.”
“We have a good spirit in the side and he will add something more, experience-wise, and on the nerves 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.”
The Gunners’ manager also confirmed Henry will play some part in their FA Cup clash with Leeds United on Monday, but admitted the striker won’t play the full game.
“Thierry will be involved against Leeds, but at the moment 90 minutes is a bit long for him because he has not played for a long time,” Wenger said.
“He works hard, but he is a bit behind physically. In one or two weeks Thierry will be fine.”
Meanwhile, Henry is looking to Manchester United midfielder Ryan Giggs for inspiration.
The Frenchman rejoined Arsene Wenger’s side on Friday on a two-month loan deal from the New York Red Bulls after initially leaving the club in 2007 to join Barcelona.
Henry said he would look to adopt an approach similar to Giggs’ role at United where he can be on the ball and use his technical skills rather than rely on his pace, which he believes at 34 he now lacks.
“If you look at Ryan Giggs, he can see the game, is always available. That’s what I am going to try to bring if I play,” Henry said.
“I’m not 25 anymore, but if you have the awareness to see things before (other) players, you can get away with not having (the pace in) your legs.”
Henry could be available for Arsenal’s Champions League clash against AC Milan next month and will end his spell against Tottenham on 16 February – although the club have the option to extend the deal by an extra 10 days.