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Last Updated: Monday, 25 June 2007, 14:35 GMT 15:35 UK
Henry passes medical at Barcelona
Thierry Henry
Henry moved a step closer to securing his Barca move
Thierry Henry is in Spain to put the finishing touches on his move from Arsenal to Barcelona.

Barcelona team doctor Ricard Pruna said Henry, who is set to be unveiled at 1700 BST, had passed his medical.

Barcelona, who have agreed a four-year deal with the 29-year-old, are thought to be paying about 16m for the player.

"It is incredible. I am looking forward to playing in the Camp Nou and helping the team in every way I can," Henry told the Barcelona website.

"The most important thing that made me come [here] is the way Barca plays, the fans and the support they give. Without good fans it is difficult to have a good team and vice versa."

Henry suffered foot, back, stomach and groin injuries last season and a sciatic nerve proved to be a long-standing problem that forced Arsenal to rule their captain out of the campaign from March.

This is solely my decision, no-one has forced me to do anything

Thierry Henry
"We paid particular attention to the groin area because we are aware of the problems he has had there," said Pruna. "We believe it is due to an imbalance in the muscle groups in the area.

"He will undergo a special programme in Paris to redress the imbalance in the area so that he can join up with the rest of the team on 21 July.

"In theory, given what we have seen today, and if he completes the programme properly and continues it when he comes to club, there should be no problems."

Barca vice-president Ferran Soriano insisted the Spanish club waited for the green light from Arsenal before making a move for a player he says had shown an interest in the Spanish club.

"This extraordinary player has expressed that he liked our club for months," Soriano told BBC Five Live.

"The actual deal was discussed on Friday and over the weekend. He landed here on Sunday and we are going to be finishing up everything on Monday."

Henry said his decision to leave Arsenal was due to the shock departure of Gunners vice-chairman David Dein and continuing doubts over the future of manager Arsene Wenger.

"Arsene has been part of my life for as long as I can remember," Henry wrote in the Sun newspaper.

"Unfortunately and understandably, he has said that at this moment he will not commit to the club past the expiration of his current deal, which finishes at the end of the coming season.

"I respect his decision and his honesty but I will be 31 at the end of next season and I cannot take the chance to be there without Arsene Wenger and David Dein."

606: DEBATE

Henry, who has also been linked with European champions AC Milan, also revealed why he decided to move to the Nou Camp.

"Barcelona are a wonderful club steeped in tradition and play beautiful football. I'm sure I will be very happy there," he continued.

"But I will miss the Arsenal fans dearly, they have supported me through thick and thin.

"They will always be in my heart, as will all the fans who make the game here so special. I will always have a special bond with Arsenal Football Club."

Arsenal's 1971 League and FA Cup winning captain Frank McLintock was surprised Henry cited former vice-chairman Dein as a reason for leaving.

He said: "I can't see the relevance of David Dein's departure. I don't know how a player can get caught up with a director's departure and that making a difference to a player's performance.

"I'm sure he was a great ally to Arsene Wenger but I don't see how a player comes into contact with a director day after day.

"I've never heard such talk in my life before."

The Scot, however, was lavish in his praise of Henry's performances throughout his Arsenal career.

He added: "He's probably been the finest player Arsenal have ever had so you can't dismiss five or six great seasons that he gave us.

"I think the fans should leave with a warm feeling for Thierry Henry. He deserves it - he has been magnificent."

Barcelona's new striker Thierry Henry
Henry was perilously close to joining Barcelona last summer

Henry began his career as a winger with Monaco in 1994 - under the supervision of current Arsenal boss Wenger.

He was in France's 1998 World Cup-winning squad and went on to join Juventus the following season.

But his time in Turin was a largely unsuccessful one and the player was soon heading to north London, with Wenger keen to get the best out of the prodigious talent.

The France international has since blossomed into one of the greatest talents in world football.

He helped Arsenal to two league titles and three FA Cups and led the Gunners to the finals of the 2000 Uefa Cup and 2006 Champions League.

In February 2006, he became the first Arsenal player to score over 200 goals for the club, with a strike against Birmingham, and has bagged a club record 226 goals in 364 appearances for the Gunners.

His consistency in front of goal ensured he finished as the Premier League's top scorer on four occasions.

He has won the Professional Footballers' Association player of the year title on two occasions and the football writers' player of the year three times. He has also twice finished runner-up in the Fifa world player of the year.



SEE ALSO
Emotional Henry salutes Gunners
23 Jun 07 |  Europe
Henry's Arsenal career in photos
23 Jun 07 |  Football
Comment: Hope after Henry
23 Jun 07 |  Football
Comment: Life without Thierry
22 Jun 07 |  Football
Henry stays on Barca wanted list
22 Feb 06 |  Arsenal
Barca leave door open for Henry
03 Jun 07 |  Europe


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