Premier League - Arsenal fail with Henry extension
Fri, 10 Feb 11:48:00 2012
Henry returned to his former club at the start of January and it had been hoped that he would be allowed to remain in North London until after the Premier League clash with Tottenham on February 26.
However, with the Red Bulls' MLS campaign due to start on March 11, their captain has been instructed to return to America as promised.
That means that the final game for which Henry will be available in his second spell as an Arsenal player will be the first leg of the Champions League last 16 tie against AC Milan on Wednesday.
“There is clarification, it will be February 16. The day after the game in Milan,” Wenger said.
“I would have loved him to stay for two more weeks but he has to go back. He is captain of the Red Bulls, so just to appear on the first day of the season would be unfair to them.
“We accepted at the start that we would release him on February 16 so we respect our word. He thinks as well that it would be too late [to remain for two more weeks].”
Henry has been restricted to substitute appearances since returning to Arsenal but has added to his record tally for the club with goals against Leeds United in the FA Cup and Blackburn Rovers in the Premier League to move onto 228 in total.
Meanwhile, Wenger believes Ivory Coast forward Gervinho will take confidence from his goal in the African Cup of Nations and return a better player.
Gervinho's winner in the semi-final victory over Mali set up a meeting with Zambia in the final on Sunday.
Gervinho's participation in that game rules him out of Arsenal's trip to play Sunderland in the Premier League on Saturday.
But Wenger is keen to see him back in an Arsenal shirt as soon as possible and told Arsenal Player: "It was a cracking goal against Mali. They were the better side but he made the difference. They scored only one goal, Gervinho made it and you can basically say he scored it on his own because he started on the halfway line and finished in a cool way.
"Sometimes he rushes his decisions a little bit but I was very happy he kept calm and finished in a very controlled way. That's great news for his confidence and his country as well because I believe they are the best team in Africa by a big distance at the moment. Hopefully they will get rewarded in the final.
"He creates those dangerous situations but the coolness he misses a little bit. That can help him to do that. I feel he proved that with us. Also, who doesn't want to be a hero in his own country? That will help him to be recognised in his own country and therefore boost his confidence levels."
PA Sport / Eurosport