Thierry Henry 'ready to rejoin Arsenal as Van Persie back-up'
Gunners could do a deal with New York Red Bulls to borrow the iconic striker for one month only
NOT NORMALLY known for making outlandish claims, The Times reports that Thierry Henry is set to "make a surprise return" to Arsenal, nearly five years after walking out on the Gunners for Barcelona. The 34-year-old French striker scored a club record 174 goals in 254 appearances during his eight glorious years in north London, and, according to the Times, Henry is ready to resume his goal-scoring feats next month.
It's been an open secret that Henry has been training with the Arsenal squad in recent weeks as he keeps himself in shape ahead of the resumption of the Major League Soccer season in March. Henry plays for the New York Red Bulls and The Times says that with Arsenal strikers Marouane Chamakh and Gervinho both involved in next month's Africa Cup of Nations, Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger will strike a deal with the Bulls.
Henry will likely sign a one-month deal with Arsenal so that they have adequate back-up to number one strikeman Robin Van Persie in the New Year. When asked by The Times about the likelihood of Henry doing a job for the Gunners in January, Wenger replied: "At the moment, Thierry Henry just practises with us. "I cannot tell you even if there is a chance [of a deal] because... I haven't been concrete on the case."
Assuming Henry does sign for Arsenal, he'll be involved in four league games in January - including the visit of Manchester United to the Emirates on January 22 - as the Gunners look to get back on track following yesterday's defeat to Manchester City.
Talking of United, The Daily Telegraph claims that the Red Devils are on the brink of signing Nicolas Gaitan from Benfica. Apparently the Argentine playmaker impressed United boss Alex Ferguson during the club's recent Champions League clash. Ferguson is still struggling to find a suitable replacement for Paul Scholes since his retirement last May, and the 23-year-old Gaitan has a similar style to the ginger one.
The Telegraph claims that Inter Milan and Paris Saint-Germain have been showing an interest in the South American, prompting United to begin discussions with Benfica over the signing of Gaitan. Apparently the Portuguese outfit are asking for £38m but are unlikely to receive such a sum.
In other news, the Mirror says that Chelsea boss Andre Villas-Boas has put Brazilian striker Neymar "at the top of his Christmas wish-list". The 19-year-old is regarded as one of the world's hottest talents and apparently Blues owner Roman Abramovich has indicated to Villas-Boas that he's destined for Chelsea.
Neymar, who appeared for Santos in yesterday's World Club Championship final against Barcelona (which the Catalan club won 4-0), has been priced at £45m. This won't trouble Abramovich who carries that sort of cash in his back pocket.
Finally, the People claims that Liverpool are watching events at Real Madrid closely after Jose Mourinho gave Mesut Ozil a "stark ultimatum". Apparently the German midfielder hasn't been pulling his weight at the Bernabeu in recent weeks and Real coach Mourinho has told the 23-year-old to shape up or ship out, or words to that effect.
The People says that, as a result, Liverpool "will keep an eye on developments" and perhaps make a New Year offer for Ozil, who arrived at Real last year from Werder Bremen in a £12.4m deal.