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Thierry Henry, left, celebrates with Robin van Persie after Arsenal routed Blackburn.
Thierry Henry, left, celebrates with Robin van Persie after Arsenal routed Blackburn.

Arsene Wenger ponders Thierry Henry loan extension

The manager said he may try to extend the French striker's loan from the New York Red Bulls after he sealed a polished Arsenal performance in a 7-1 drubbing of Blackburn Rovers.

Arsene Wenger said he may try to extend Thierry Henry's loan from the New York Red Bulls after the France striker sealed a polished performance in Arsenal's 7-1 drubbing of Blackburn Rovers yesterday.

Henry's loan deal stipulates that he has only next weekend's Premier League game at Sunderland and a February 15 Champions League match at AC Milan left before returning to Major League Soccer.

Wenger said the Gunners had not discussed any extension with the Red Bulls as yet, but acknowledged that it was possible.

"I haven't looked at it," Wenger said. "Maybe the maximum possibility we have is two more weeks."

That would make the 34-year-old striker available for an FA Cup match and what could be a crucial February 26 meeting with arch-rivals Tottenham Hotspur in the league.

Robin van Persie remains Arsenal's only proven striker, with the Dutchman taking his league tally for the season to 22 goals yesterday with a hat-trick - as well as two assists - the second of which allowed Henry to score his first goal in the English top flight since departing for Barcelona in 2007.

Henry scored in injury time to round off the rout, a match that is currently scheduled to be the former France international's last in front of the home fans at Emirates Stadium.

The goal extended Henry's club-record haul to 228 - 226 in his first spell from 1999-2007 and two more since returning on loan from the MLS.

Wenger said Henry had lifted the club since returning.

"How much, you can never give a percentage, but he was very positive and everyone takes his advice on board because he has delivered here and they want to deliver, too," Wenger said.

"He is respected and he was very positive.

"He is not going away yet; normally he stays until after the Milan game. So we go to Sunderland now and then we go to Milan. That is two massive games."

It was a miserable afternoon for Steve Kean, the Rovers manager, who also saw the defender Gael Givet shown a first-half red card for a two-footed challenge on Van Persie.

Kean told Sky Sports: "It wasn't a nice afternoon for us. I think the two biggest things that affected the game were the early goal and then, massively, the sending off."

Asked if he had any complaints about the sending off, Kean said: "No. I have seen it again. I think the pass that Gael received was over-hit, so then he is a very committed player.

"He's not malicious. The other French lads in the Arsenal side will know that in his career he's very committed but there isn't a nasty bone in his body."

* Agencies


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