Thierry Henry back at Arsenal? Walcott keen to sign new deal
But will New York Red Bulls let him out on loan again? Sporting director Roxburgh could block it
ARSENAL manager Arsene Wenger has confirmed there is truth in the rumours that Gunners legend Thierry Henry could be back at the Emirates for another loan spell in the New Year.
Henry returned to Arsenal last season after a five-year hiatus, scoring twice including a goal on his first appearance against Leeds in the FA Cup.
Asked on the eve of yesterday's Champions League victory over Montpellier if Henry was heading back from the New York Red Bulls during the MLS off-season, Wenger told the Metro: "I don't rule it out. I don't know if he is interested."
Wenger then admitted Henry was still looking "sharp" and added: "We will lose Gervinho again as they [Ivory Coast] are playing in the African Cup of Nations two years in a row, so we will be confronted with a shortage."
There's just one potential problem: the Daily Star reports that the Red Bulls' new sporting director, one-time Scotland manager Andy Roxburgh, is apparently against the diea. "In general terms, I wouldn't say it would be something we would favour," he said. "I think the length of the season we have here, when they get the break over the Christmas, New Year's period, they need to regenerate themselves."
There is more interesting news for Gunners concerning "striker" Theo Walcott, who used the programme notes of last night's Champions League game against Montpellier to insist that he wants to stay at the Emirates.
He missed the match with a shoulder injury, but revealed to fans: "It's important for me that something gets sorted out, because I enjoy playing for this club... I don't think you can put a timeframe on when it will be resolved, though when both parties are sure, it will happen."
The Mail reports that Walcott rejected a contract offer of £75,000 a week in the summer and says that until now Arsenal had stood firm and refused to cough up any more. But the prospect of seeing their top scorer walk away for nothing at the end of the season appears to have forced their hand and they are now prepared to put forward a package worth between £80,000 - £85,000-a-week.
Still with the Gunners and Arsene Wenger's admission that he will try to sign a striker in January has only fuelled the speculation about who is on his shopping list. The latest forward to be linked with the Gunners is Dieumerci Mbokani of Anderlecht. Metro describes Mbokani as a "27-year-old journeyman", but he has also caught the eye of Newcastle, Everton and Juventus after scoring 22 goals in 35 games since arriving at Anderlecht from Monaco.
Meanwhile, Arsenal and Everton remain on tenterhooks regarding the future plans of Lewis Holtby. The Schalke midfielder, who last night helped his side to a 1-0 defeat of Olympiakos in the Champions League, has been linked to both clubs for several months.
Though the half-English Holtby has admitted his affection for Arsenal, his dad is a life-long Evertonian and it's believed that could play an important factor in his final decision.
According to Talksport, the 22-year-old will make up his mind about his future "next month", with Schalke still hopeful he'll sign on for another stint in the Bundesliga. "Negotiations are in the end phase, it's down to details," general manager Horst Heldt is quoted as telling Talksport. "A decision will be made before the year ends… our aim remains to agree a new deal."
Caughtoffside.com reports that Liverpool are weighing up a January move for highly-rated Brazilian forward Leandro Damiao. With Reds boss Brendan Rodgers still desperately short of strikers, it's believed he'll get permission from the Liverpool board to make a big money offer for the Internacional forward.
Apparently Rodgers believes Damiao would link up well with Luis Suarez to form a lethal strike force. Tottenham have made no secret of the fact that they've been chasing the 23-year-old Damiao after getting wind of his 74 goals in 126 matches for Internacional. Real Madrid and Barcelona are also mentioned as potential suitors but Rodgers is said to be keenest of all.
Rafa Benitez may be a new face at Chelsea following the shock sacking of Robert Di Matteo on Wednesday morning, but one man who won't be coming to the Bridge is Radamel Falcao. That's according to Point Press, who say the Atletico Madrid player is quite happy where he is despite stories linking him with a move to the Premier League to replace the struggling Fernando Torres.
"I can say now that I am very happy here and I am enjoying this moment, playing at a big club," said Falcao. "My goal is to continue to score goals and achieve great things with my team, which is Atletico."
Finally, and Thierry Henry isn't the only golden oldie plotting a comeback. There are also rumours that Didier Drogba and David Beckham could be winging their way back to Europe in the near future.
First up Chelsea legend Drogba.The Shanghai Shenhua striker has asked Fifa for special dispensation to play for another club before the African Cup of Nations starts on 19 January, and apparently the Blues are keen to sign him. What is unclear is exactly who at Chelsea is keen to sign him and whether they will still have a job at Stamford Bridge by the time his plane arrives at Heathrow.
With the Chinese season now over the Ivory Coast international wants to stay in trim by turning out for his old employers, according to the Daily Mail. But it points out that he will not be eligible to play until January unless he is granted special permission, and that can be hard to obtain.
The same paper suggests that two famous Manchester United number sevens could finally end up on the same team, if David Beckham's swansong is at Real Madrid. The Mail claims that president Florentino Perez is keen on bringing Becks back to the Bernabeu, where he could feature alongside Cristiano Ronaldo for Jose Mourinho's side. ·