Wenger urges Henry to sign deal
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Wenger urges Henry to sign deal

The striker is asked to sign his deal before knowing if the club will play Champions League next season.

india Updated: Feb 01, 2006 16:46 IST

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has called for striker Thierry Henry to sign his new deal before knowing if the club will play Champions League football next season.

Arsenal have been eliminated from the FA Cup and League Cup in the past week and are fifth in the Premiership, one place away from qualification for Europe's premier competition.

It has been suggested the 28-year-old Henry is waiting for Arsenal to secure a Champions League place before signing.

But Wenger said: "I think he knows the best way is always trust, sign first and qualify after.

"I think that's the only way you can do it because you need to be committed to qualify," he added.

French international striker Henry, whose deal runs out in 2007, publicly stated his desire to stay at Highbury three weeks ago, but no progress has still been made on the deal.

And the French coach said: "He did not promise to me face-to-face that he would sign but he told me he wants to stay. For me that is basically the same.

"He has made up his mind and said he wants to stay."

Chairman Peter Hill-Wood claimed they have made Henry "an absolutely fantastic offer" to stay at the club for the next five years.

"Henry's very important to us and we're advanced in trying to renegotiate his deal. We've made him an offer which is probably as good an offer as anybody in this country, maybe other than Chelsea, would make," said Hill-Wood.

Henry joined the Gunners from Juventus in August 1999.

He is the club's all-time record goalscorer and his hat-trick in the 7-0 thrashing of Middlesbrough on January 14 led to him equal Cliff Bastin's club record of 150 League goals.

First Published: Feb 01, 2006 16:46 IST