- Last Updated: 8:32 AM, December 31, 2011
- Posted: 1:09 AM, December 31, 2011
Red Bulls captain Thierry Henry will return to English team Arsenal on a two-month loan, Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger said and Red Bulls general manager Erik Soler confirmed to The Post.
It marks Henry’s return to the Gunners, for whom he had a club-record 226 goals and who dedicated a statue in his honor outside their stadium three weeks ago.
“It was more like the total package,’’ Soler said. “You need to travel to Arsenal to understand the meaning he has to everybody inside and outside the club. We feel it’s a good honor.
“This is something he wanted to do, and it’s easy to see. And on the sporting side, it’s better for him to train at Arsenal than if we turn something like that down. I couldn’t find a single reason to say no.”
The loan — which the Post reported was a possibility on Dec. 16 — will run through the Feb. 16 Champions League match against Milan.
The French striker earns $5 million annually, and the Gunners will pay a pro-rated portion. Henry is expected back in the U.S. on Feb. 20 for the Phoenix portion of training camp.
“He’s 34, but still has class, quality and a [soccer] brain,” said Wenger, searching for cover for forwards Gervinho and Marouane Chamakh, who will leave for the African Cup of Nations. “He knows the club, he can help the players and I know one thing: It can only be positive.
It’s a big thing in the football world, and it’s good for the marketing side as well. But we’d never do it if we thought it wasn’t good for the sporting side. He’ll come back at a high level and have a great experience.
“With Arsenal coming to him in [a crisis], it must be a very emotional thing for him.’’
Soler said teams have asked for Tim Ream, but he expects the defender back next year.Follow @NYPostsports