Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger has confirmed club legend Thierry Henry will leave the club on February 16.
Henry rejoined Arsenal on a two-month loan in January but will now return to New York Bulls two weeks earlier than expected. Whilst disappointed to lose Henry, Wenger appreciates it is New York’s prerogative to recall the striker.
Wenger said: “I would have loved Thierry to stay for two more weeks but he has to go back. It’s only fair on New York.”
Henry will be available for Arsenal’s weekend trip to Sunderland and the first leg of their Champions League tie against AC Milan at the San Siro next Wednesday will be his last live football in an Arsenal shirt (unless he comes back next year!).
The 34-year-old was scheduled to face Sunderland again in the FA Cup and bid farewell to the Arsenal faithful against bitter rivals Tottenham Hotspur at the end of February.
Arsenal’s record goalscorer’s last act at the Emirates Stadium was to round off Arsenal’s emphatic victory over Blackburn Rovers with a deflected last-minute strike.
After a promising start against Leeds United in the FA Cup, Henry has had a limited impact on his return to the club where he made his name. He has yet to start a game and missed Arsenal’s match against Manchester United through injury.
Arsenal must now push on in search of the final Champions League spot without their former talisman, but will be confident as long as their current lynchpin stays fit. With Robin van Persie fit and firing, Arsenal have every chance, despite the Champions League betting suggesting punters do not rate their chances.
Henry will resume his New York Bulls career when the MLS season kicks off on March 10. It remains to be seen whether he can motivate himself again in America away from the limelight.