Henry hoping Wenger remains Gunners' boss

June 26, 2007

Thierry Henry believes Arsene Wenger will stay at Arsenal next season, despite speculation linking the Gunners boss with a move away from north London this summer.

Henry was unveiled by Barcelona at a news conference at the Nou Camp yesterday afternoon and paraded in front of 30,000 loyal fans at the club's stadium after signing a four-year contract with the Catalans.

But despite sealing his dream move to Catalonia, Arsenal's all-time top goalscorer said he will remain a fan of the Gunners and hopes that his mentor will remain in charge of the Londoners for at least another year.

'Arsene is his own man, but I can only go with what he has said and he has said that he is going to see out his contract (which lasts until summer 2008).

'I'd like him to stay and it's important for the club that he does because if he also goes, it is going to be pretty difficult for the club. But only he can tell you about that,' he said.

Henry revealed he maintains an excellent relationship with the coach he first played under at Monaco, before their eight successful years together in the red and white half of north London.

'My relationship with Arsene is out of this world and it won't change now that I am here. I can talk to him about anything. Private stuff, anything. When I decided I wanted to go we sat and down and we talked like big men. We respect each other and our relationship goes beyond Arsenal,' he said.

Henry refused to go over the reasons for his departure, but said it was difficult to leave Arsenal following eight happy years in London.

'I have said so many times why I left Arsenal, I don't want to go back to that, but it was hard to leave. I always said that if I ever left Arsenal it would be to play for Barcelona. That is no disrespect to anybody,' he said.

Henry's interest in the Catalan giants goes back a long way and the Frenchman was full of admiration for his new employers yesterday.

'I saw the club from outside and loved to watch them. I hope to be part of a football I love to watch, a beautiful game. It is a well-structured club, extraordinary. All of these people are passionate about the club and give a big part of their lives to make this club successful. I am happy to be a part of a club like that,' he said.

The France striker looks set to line up in a star-studded Barca attack alongside Samuel Eto'o, Ronaldinho and Lionel Messi next season, and says he hopes the team can play 'amazing football'.

'I hope we see some amazing football and bring back silverware. I have arrived here and I am going to give 100%. I will put the club before myself. The most important thing is Barcelona,' he said.

Henry previously cited the departure of Arsenal vice-chairman David Dein in April as his main reason for leaving the Gunners.

Dein and Henry developed a solid relationship after the Frenchman joined from Juventus is 1999 and the former board member's son, Darren, was best man at the player's wedding to model Nicole Merry in 2003.

Arsenal will receive 24 million euros (16million) for the transfer of Henry, which could rise to 25 if their former striker helps the Catalan giants regain the Spanish title from bitter rivals Real Madrid next season.

Wenger's side have been linked to several high-profile replacements for Henry, including Eto'o, Atletico Madrid's Fernando Torres and their former French forward Nicolas Anelka, currently at Bolton.