2006-01-08

Great Goal: Henry stays Arsenal

It is true that Arsenal FC supporters have had little to cheer about this season. Thierry Henry managed to turn things beautiful as he committed his future to the club. Such is the Frenchman’s importance that his signature is worth more than any trophy.

According to many speculations, Henry had been expected to join Barcelona in the summer, but has had a dramatic change of heart. The blaugrana team have been tracking him for some time, with Joan Laporta, the club’s president, recently revealing that they would do everything in their power to sign him, but his incessant phone calls to the player’s agent appear to have fallen on deaf ears.

Keep in mind that the Gunners are preparing to move into the new Emirates Stadium, and Thierry Henry’s renewed commitment will ensure that they approach the future with confidence. “The truth is I love this club and I’ve made my mind up to stay,” Henry says today. “I can say to all my fans and the people who care about me, I want to lead the team out in the new stadium.”

The Frenchman has only 1½ years left on his contract but will sit down with Arsenal’s board in the next few weeks to discuss a new deal. Peter Hill-Wood, the club’s chairman, has previously made clear that they are willing to make him the highest-paid player in their history and it should not take long to hammer out the details of a new £100,000-a-week contract.

Henry’s decision has been the talk of English football in recent weeks, with everybody seemingly chipping into the debate as to whether he must stay or go, and the dilemma has even affected his own form. The striker has been a shadow of his effervescent self in recent weeks, shrugging his shoulders with seeming indifference as his side have struggled, but revealed that the support of Arsenal fans had helped him to come through a hard time.

After reaching a career-defining choice, he can expect to hear even more from them in the coming days. “I’m still only 28, but when I see the fans and the way they talk to me it helped make my decision,” he admits. “They didn’t boo me or make life difficult for me on the pitch.

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