Arsene Wenger believes Thierry Henry will prove himself at Barcelona – but he will not rule out the possibility of him returning to Arsenal.
Henry – who scored 174 Premier League goals in 254 appearances for the Gunners – has failed to light up the Nou Camp following his £16million move last summer.
There have been suggestions the 30-year-old could be set to leave the Catalan giants after only one season – with Newcastle among the suitors said to ready to tempt the France international to return to the Premier League.
Henry, though, claims he has no intentions of quitting Barcelona, who face Manchester United in the second leg of their Champions League semi-final at Old Trafford next week.
However, the forward did also reveal Arsenal “are the only team in my heart” and would be the choice if he were to ever move back to the English top flight.
Wenger maintains a close relationship with Henry, whom he also worked with while coach at Monaco before bringing him to Highbury in the summer of 1999.
Wenger said: “Thierry said he is happy at Barcelona and if he comes back he will only play at Arsenal which I find really a very good statement.
“He is happy at Barcelona. You can never say never – but at the moment I do not think about that [signing him again].”
Wenger insists Henry is not a spent force, despite a below-par season in Spain where he has often been deployed out on the left.
“I think he has a lot to offer as a player,” said the Arsenal manager.
“I still feel he is a world-class player and he will prove in Barcelona that he is one of their better players.
“Thierry is disappointed because things haven’t gone as well as he would have liked them to go.
“The whole team in Barcelona has not worked completely, they were never in the race for the championship.
Wenger continued: “For me, Thierry is an efficient goalscorer – but Barca have two or three players in there.
“What was a little bit damaging to his success at Barcelona is that Ronaldinho has not turned up this season, so that the closest one who can play left wing is Thierry, and that is where he plays.
“That is not his preferred position and that is not where he is most efficient. In football, things can change quickly when you have talent, and he has plenty.”
The Arsenal manager revealed that he is in regular contact with Henry even though he no longer players for the Gunners.
Wenger added: “I had a chat with him not a long time ago. He watches every Arsenal game and he can give me advice!
“When I can, I watch Barcelona, because I am always interested in how he looks, how is his sharpness, in what position he plays and I gave him my view about his game.”