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Last Updated: Thursday, 18 May 2006, 07:35 GMT 08:35 UK
Wenger hopeful of Henry staying
Thierry Henry
Henry has said he will decide his future before the World Cup
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger is hopeful striker Thierry Henry will spurn the advances of Barcelona and stay with the Gunners next season.

The 28-year-old has been hotly tipped to join the side that ended Arsenal's Champions League hopes on Wednesday.

But when asked if he thought Henry would leave the club, Wenger said: "I don't know. I don't think so."

Henry has made it clear he will decide his club future before leaving for World Cup duty with France.

And Wenger added: "There's not long to wait now and I will try to talk to him because we have to prepare for next season.

Losing means Thierry has unfinished business and is likely to stay with Arsene Wenger
Laurent Blanc
"We have many young players in our team. We have a big future as a big team but we need Thierry Henry to achieve that.

"He has such an influence on our side and can help us become a major force in the world."

Henry refused to be drawn into a decision straight after the 2-1 defeat to Barca at Paris' Stade de France.

But he hinted at his future, saying "we must pick up ourselves up and make sure we come back stronger next year".

Speculation has been mounting over Henry in the past months but his former international team-mate Laurent Blanc said the time had come for the Gunners striker to pledge his future to his current employers.

"After seven years at Arsenal, Thierry doesn't have too many options after losing this final," Blanc told the Daily Express newspaper.

"I thought before the final that an Arsenal victory would complete the job for him. He has won Premierships and the FA Cup, so the Champions League would have meant there was nothing left.

"But losing means Thierry has unfinished business and is likely to stay with Arsene Wenger."

SEE ALSO
Barcelona 2-1 Arsenal
17 May 06 |  Europe
Gunners fans drown their sorrows
17 May 06 |  UK News
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17 May 06 |  Photo Galleries
Experts' views on Arsenal
17 May 06 |  Europe


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