• Premier League

Henry: Third Arsenal spell never likely

ESPN staff
January 29, 2013

Thierry Henry has insisted he never came close to signing another loan deal with Arsenal during this January transfer window and has admitted last year's temporary stint back at the club came as a surprise to him.

Arsenal's record scorer Henry was widely expected to sign another short-term deal with the club as he trained with Arsene Wenger's squad following the end of the MLS season with New York Red Bulls last November.

But Henry, who was recently linked with support for a possible takeover of the club by billionaire Alisher Usmanov, stresses he never came close to a third stint under Wenger's command.

"It was never in the air (that I would return), despite the speculation," Henry said in an interview with Al Jazeera. "I never spoke to the boss about it and he never mentioned it to me so it was not an issue.

"It was never meant to happen that I went back last year either. I was just training and then it happened and it was great to play with great players, work under the manager again.

"I still love the club and I would say that in the eight seasons I played there, we had some great memories. There were some bad ones along the way, but you always try to remember the good ones."

Meanwhile, Henry has called on the game's authorities to come down heavily on players and fans who are found guilty of racist abuse, as he has called for points deductions to be used as the ultimate punishment.

"The solution to this issue for me would be to take points away from team, that is the only solution," Henry said. "I have not experienced racist abuse in America. It is very different here."

Henry, 35, added that he expects to see out the remaining two years of his contract with New York Red Bulls before hanging up his boots, but he admits that playing in the MLS is a step down from the top European leagues he has played in.

"It's difficult to compare and I don't want to be harsh, but you cannot compare playing in the Premier League, in Spain, Italy or France and playing in the MLS," he added. "I'm not having a go at the MLS, but you cannot compare.

"The league is progressing really well. We have a lot of players who want to come here now and when you see the commitment of a guy like Beckham, it is progressing.

"Ideally, it would be great if you didn't have a salary cap and only having a few guys who can earn above that. It is a very hard one to deal with. Imagine if you said to Barcelona they could only have three players on a salary cap? But this is the way it is and you have to accept it.

"I have been very fortunate in my career because I have not had any big injuries, so hopefully two more years. I would love to win the MLS before I finish and hopefully we can do it."

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