Thierry Henry proved he’s still one of Arsenal’s biggest fans in a wide-ranging interview that covered all the key areas at the Emirates Stadium.
The Gunners legend return to the club on loan last season, memorably coming off the bench to score the winner against Leeds United in an FA Cup third round tie.
Henry will be remembered for his more memorable eight years under Arsene Wenger between 1999 and 2007, scoring 174 Premier League goals before leaving for Barcelona and then the New York Red Bulls.
Currently enjoying a third season in the MLS, the French legend certainly hasn’t taken his eye on life in north London, and is glued to the newspapers to see how the Robin Van Persie saga plays out in the coming month.
“Nothing has happened yet. I’m reading the paper – I don’t normally read the papers but I am because I’m a fan - and I want him to stay. We’re all waiting to see what happens, that’s just the way it is and I’m out of it over here,” Henry told SkySports.
“For me, he’s still an Arsenal player and the boss will have to deal with it.”
The addition of Lukas Podolski has certainly pleased Henry, who is confident the German international can have a major impact at the Emirates.
Having clocked up over a century of appearances for his country, the 26-year-old leaves Cologne with a huge reputation, and the Frenchman is certain he can deliver for his new club.
“You know what you’re going to get. Hopefully he’ll add pretty well in the Premier League and play well for us,” noted Henry.
“If you get a guy like that, with 100 caps for Germany, your not getting a player around the corner right, and hopefully he can be efficient for us. It’s a good record, especially for Germany. If you do that much for a country like Germany, you must be doing something right.”
Henry also admitted his frustration at Jack Wilshere’s ongoing injury problems, with the England international now expected to be out of action until October at the earliest.
The Gunners have struggled without their rising star in the centre of midfield, and whilst Mikel Arteta has impressed Henry, he knows that Wilshere is key to the club’s progress.
“It is annoying. When I came back on loan, I saw him training to come back and that is where he had his problems. You want Jack Wilshere around, he reminds me of when I first arrived and the old guard was still around,” noted Henry.
“He’s an Arsenal fan in the first place, so you still need to have this type of player in the dressing room. Not just because he’s an Arsenal fan, and he’s an Englishman, but because he’s a good player. It’s as simple as that.
“I just thought what a shame that’s he’s stopped a bit, because he was on his way, and I just wish him all the best that he comes back quick and wears the shirt he loves. I saw he wasn’t likely to be able to play until October, and we definitely need him."
When pushed on whether Wilshere was the key to Arsenal’s potential success or failure next season, Henry added: “I just saw what the boss said the other day, that hopefully Wilshere and Diaby will sign this year, and I thought that was a clever thing to say as usual.
“You need those guys around, I mean Mikel Arteta did extremely well last year, I’m just saying you need those guys also in the squad.”
Finally, when discussing Arsenal’s Premier League title chances, Henry thinks confidence is the key as much as new signings, noting that the double-winning Gunners managed to turn things around after a disappointing campaign the year before.
“Maybe a bit more confidence, having a good run against good teams, I don’t know,” said Henry when questioned on how to close the gap to the Manchester teams.
“I remind you that when I first arrived at Arsenal, we used to finish 18 points behind Manchester United with nearly the same team that won the double in 2002.
“We were finishing in 2001, and in 99/2000 and 2000/01, something like 20 points behind United, and they won the league in April or something, which was ridiculous.”