Thierry Henry shocker: is he joining Leicester?

Thierry Henry

Transfer Talk: Local paper claims Eriksson has made ‘audacious’ close season bid for Frenchman

BY Bill Mann LAST UPDATED AT 07:11 ON Wed 19 Jan 2011

Transfer Talk doesn't do hyperbole, as our regular readers will testify, but even we have to admit the claim carried in the Leicester Mercury is nothing short of a bombshell. For according to that august organ (serving Leicestershire and Rutland since 1874), former Arsenal-star-turned-notorious-handball-cheat Thierry Henry is on the brink of joining Championship side Leicester City.

The Foxes, whose last silverware of note was the league cup in 2000, have made what the Mercury describes as "an audacious bid" for the 33-year-old Henry.

Henry is currently contracted to Major League Soccer outfit the New York Red Bulls but with the season in hiatus until March, the fraudulent Frenchman is keeping fit with Arsenal. According to the Mercury, Leicester boss Sven-Goran Eriksson has contacted Henry to see if he might be willing to while away a few weeks on loan at Filbert Street. Of course, if Henry did fancy slumming it in the Championship against the likes of Doncaster and Scunthorpe, the final say would be with the Red Bulls, who signed France's leading goalscorer in July on a multi-year contract.
 
Slightly less startling is the news that Arsenal are on the trail of yet another defender. Richard Dunne must have been feeling a bit left out of late as the Gunners were linked with just about every centre-back in England, but now it's his turn, with the Daily Mail reporting that the 31-year-old Aston Villa defender has caught the eye of Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger.
 
With Bolton's Gary Cahill and Per Mertesacker of Werder Bremen just two of the many centre-backs ruled out of contention for a move to the Emirates, Wenger might be forced to go for football's equivalent of sloppy seconds and hire Dunne to fill his defensive hole.

Dunne joined Villa from Manchester City in the summer of 2009 but rumours have filtered out of the Villa training camp in recent weeks suggesting the combustible Irishman has had a falling out with assistant manager Gary McAllister. Whether that spurs him into joining Arsenal remains to be seen but the Mail certainly thinks so.

A report in German rag Bild claims Liverpool's Dutch striker Ryan Babel has completed his move to Hoffenheim of the Bundesliga. The paper says the Reds have offloaded the 24-year-old Babel, fined £10,000 by the FA on Monday for an offensive tweet against referee Howard Webb, to Hoffenheim for £5.8m. Bild quotes the club's owner Dietmar Hopp as saying: "We needed a striker because of the imminent departure of Demba Ba and the injury to Chinedu Obasi. Babel was the attacker we really wanted and [our] sporting director is convinced he's the right man for us."

Babel, who came through the Ajax youth system, left the Dutch club for Liverpool in the summer of 2007 but has struggled to make his mark at Anfield and few on the Kop will be sad to see him go, though they'll probably miss his tweets.

And will Liverpool use the money made from selling Babel to finance the capture of Luis Suarez from Ajax? That's what Talksport believes after Ajax made it clear what it will take for them to sell their Uruguayan striker. "We want to keep Luis and only obscene offers would be enough," a source at the Dutch outfit told Talksport.

Though the source didn't define obscene, it's reckoned by those in the know to be between £20m and £25m. Will Liverpool come up with the cash? Talksport says they're so desperate to pair Suarez with Fernando Torres that they might break the bank to make it happen.

Finally, Steven Pienaar has used Twitter to confirm he's leaving Everton to start afresh at Tottenham. The South Africa midfielder had been linked at the weekend with a move to either White Hart Lane or Chelsea, but the 28-year-old put a stop to the gossip on Tuesday afternoon by tweeting: "To end speculation, I am going to Spurs. I've had brilliant years at Everton and it will always be a special place in my heart. I can also confirm I'll be jersey number 40." · 

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