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Sunday, Dec. 25, 2011

Wenger ponders Henry loan return


LONDON — Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger is considering trying to bring Thierry Henry back to the club on a two-month loan from the New York Red Bulls to fill the void left by strikers going to the African Cup of Nations.

News photo
Helping hand: New York Red Bulls striker Thierry Henry (right) could make a short-term return to former team Arsenal. AP PHOTO

Henry won two Premier League titles and three F.A. Cups during a hugely successful eight-year spell at Arsenal, establishing himself as the club's all-time top scorer.

After leaving London for Barcelona in 2007, Henry moved to New York in 2010 but he has been back at Arsenal to train during the Major League Soccer offseason.

Such is the 34-year-old Frenchman's status at Arsenal, a statue of him was unveiled at the Emirates Stadium last month to coincide with the club's 125th-anniversary.

But Wenger believes Henry could still have a role to play for the team again. Henry will not be required back in the United States until March and Arsenal will be losing forwards Gervinho of Cote d'Ivoire and Marouane Chamakh of Morocco for up to a month at the end of January due to the African Cup of Nations.

"I have to think about," Wenger said of Henry returning on loan. "Short term is ideal for us, but I haven't made any enquiry yet. Thierry is not here at the moment. It has never come up in conversation.

"Jan. 1 is the vital date for us. We have seven days to make decisions and I will make a decision in the next seven days on players."

Arsenal has not won the Premier League since Henry was on the team — May 2004. The Gunners are currently fifth in the standings, 12 points behind leader Manchester City.

Cahill interests Chelsea


BOLTON, England — Bolton has begun talks with Chelsea about the possible sale of England defender Gary Cahill.

Cahill is out of contract at the end of the season when he could leave Bolton for free, and Chelsea coach Andre Villas-Boas has made his interest in the 26-year-old center back public this week.

Bolton manager Owen Coyle confirmed on Friday that "regarding Gary Cahill, there has been dialogue between ourselves and Chelsea."

But Coyle says "there's nothing signed and sealed at the moment."

Atletico hires Simeone


MADRID — Atletico Madrid has hired former Argentina midfielder Diego Simeone as its new coach to replace the fired Gregorio Manzano.

Atletico said Friday that Simeone has agreed to a contract until the end of the 2012-13 season.

"The Argentine coach accepted the club's offer on Thursday to take over for the rest of the season and the next," Atletico said in a statement. "He'll arrive on Monday to take charge of the team."

Simeone, who played for Atletico during its last championship-winning season in 1996, will be officially presented on Tuesday.

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