Arsenal could keep Henry until May, Sagna and others face exit
Arsene Wenger keen to keep legend for the rest of the season and tie up other stars on new deals
ARSENAL fans looking forward to the return of Thierry Henry could be in for a treat after it was claimed that the Gunners are considering trying to get the veteran forward to stay with the club until the end of the season.
The 35-year-old, who will return to the Emirates on loan at the start of the year, was expected to stay for just six weeks. However, The Sun today reports that Arsene Wenger wants him to stay until May, even though the MLS season in the US begins in March.
The Gunners' season is in danger of falling apart and Arsene Wenger is under the fiercest criticism of his Arsenal reign, and he obviously believes that bringing back a club legend would give everyone at the Emirates a much-needed boost.
Henry's current club, the New York Red Bulls, are thought to oppose the deal but, according to the Sun, the player is open to the idea of spending the rest of the season in England.
Next month could see a slew of players leaving Arsenal with some forced out and others seeking a fresh start. Top of the latter list, according to the Daily Mirror, is Bacary Sagna, who the paper predicts will be the "next big-name departure" from the Emirates.
The 29-year-old Frenchman has 18 months left on his contract but there seems little desire on either his part or the club's to reach agreement over an extension to his current deal. The Mirror claims that the right-back is "frustrated" with life at Arsenal and has been made aware of interest from Inter Milan. A move to the San Siro next month is "increasingly likely" as Sagna seeks some silverware.
The Mirror adds that contract negotiations are also taking place between Arsenal and three of its young stars - Kieran Gibbs, Jack Wilshere and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain – as the club looks to prevent an exodus in the likely event the Gunners fail to qualify for next season's Champions League.
Mino Raiola, the agent of Mario Balotelli, has ruled out a move to AC Milan in the New Year saying the bonkers frontman would cost a club as much as the Mona Lisa. The 22-year-old Manchester City frontman has been a bit-part player for much of this season, prompting rumours he could be on the brink of a return to Italy.
But Sky Sport Italia carries an interview with Raiola in which he makes it clear the sort of sum needed to prise Balotelli from the Etihad would be in the region of £477 million, what the world's most famous painting is insured for.
"There are no teams in Italy who could afford him," said Raiola. And despite Balotelli struggling this season to get a game ahead of Carlos Tevez, Segio Aguero and Edin Dzeko, Raiola added: "Manchester City don't want to sell Balotelli."
Talksport reports that Japan ace Keisuke Honda may be on his way out of CSKA Moscow, a scenario which could mean he ends up at Liverpool , or Borussia Dortmund.
Both clubs have been tracking the 26-year-old playmaker since he made his mark for Japan at the 2010 World Cup, and Honda's form has continued for CSKA although now it seems a parting of the ways is imminent. Talksport report that Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers is monitoring the situation and an offer could be forthcoming in January.
However, Rodgers will have to be wary of Borussia Dortmund with the German club said to be eyeing up Honda as a replacement for his international team-mate Shinji Kagawa, who moved to Manchester United in the summer.
Another player said to be heading to pastures new is Zenit St Petersburg striker Hulk. According to Tribalfootball.com, the Brazilian has had a barney with coach Luciano Spalletti just months after arriving in Russia from Porto.
Last summer Hulk was being chased by the likes of Manchester City and Chelsea, but he ended up at Zenit. Bad decision, it seems. "I'm fine in St. Petersburg, and so are my family and my son is fine," Hulk is quoted as saying. "But if we do not resolve the situation with Luciano Spalletti I could leave in January. I do not know if Italy would be my destination, but anything can happen."