EXCLUSIVE: Henry in training for fast-track Cup return
Published 23:00 29/12/11 By John Cross
Thierry Henry is on a special training programme to fast-track him back into the Arsenal first team.
The Gunners legend, 34, has been allocated the No.12 shirt – the shirt he wore for France – and is targeting a return for the Leeds FA Cup tie on January 9.
Henry agreed a sensational short term loan of around six weeks, but it must still be signed off by his club, New York Red Bulls, and Arsenal must reach a deal to cover the insurance costs. World Cup winner Henry, Arsenal’s record goalscorer, trained with the first team squad yesterday and was in for extra work on Wednesday when the rest of the players had a day off.
He will also do extra work on his fitness as he was on holiday in Mexico over Christmas and is still short of being ready for first team matches.
But he was easily persuaded to return to cover for Robin van Persie even though he will not be a first choice. The finer details of the deal were hammered out yesterday and Arsenal will pay Henry’s £70,000-a-week wages during the loan.
Arsenal can register the loan – if they get the green light from the Red Bulls – when the window reopens on January 1.
But it appears their trip to Fulham on January 2 will come too soon and the Leeds cup tie will be an ideal welcome back.
Arsenal are still in the market for more players, while Bacary Sagna has stepped up his running work and Jack Wilshere is due to start running outside next week.
The Henry deal is likely to be popular but Arsenal are still looking at Cologne striker Lukas Podolski and want cover at left-back for injured Andre Santos and Kieran Gibbs. Manchester City’s Wayne Bridge could be a loan option.