• FA Cup

Wenger cools David Villa reports

ESPN staff
February 15, 2013
David Villa is in goalscoring form for Barcelona © Getty Images

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Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has dampened speculation that he is on the brink of sealing a deal to bring Barcelona striker David Villa to north London.

Wenger attempted to bring Villa to Arsenal during the January transfer window and believed he was close to sealing a transfer for the Spanish World Cup winner, but the Arsenal manager is distancing himself from reports that the transfer will be completed next summer.

"I am not on the case of signing him (Villa)," Wenger said. "I like the player, but we have some more immediate targets that are more important to us, like beating Blackburn on Saturday."

Meanwhile, Wenger has opened the door to Thierry Henry's possible return to Arsenal, even though he has confirmed he will not be re-signing the club's all-time record goalscorer before he hangs up his boots.

New York Red Bulls striker Henry suggested earlier this week that he would relish the chance to return to Arsenal one day, amid suggestions that he could be used as a global ambassador for the club when his glittering playing career comes to an end. Wenger would welcome that move.

"As a player it will be difficult for him to play here again, but in any other function, why not," said Wenger of Henry. "He wants to focus on his career as a player and when that is finished, he has a chance to focus on what he wants to do.

"You know 80-90 per cent of the players I had here are intelligent and they know football, so that means they have the attributes to be a coach. Do they want that to be the direction they take in their lives? That is down to them to decide.

"Also people have to assess their competence, how they will cope with the pressure. Thierry has the qualities, of course."

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