Backpage Roundup: Wenger Expects Busy January, Henry Advising Walcott, Pat Rice Awarded MBE, Henry Return Still a Possibility and More

Backpage Roundup: Wenger Expects Busy January, Henry Advising Walcott, Pat Rice Awarded MBE, Henry Return Still a Possibility and More

Wenger Expecting A Busy January Window
Arsene Wenger has confirmed that he will have a lot of transfer-related work to do in the upcoming January transfer window.
The Gunners are reportedly interested in adding multiple players to their squad and the Frenchman has admitted that he could be very busy next month because of that.
Wenger said: “Yes, I will be busy. I don’t feel under pressure to name names because you [the media] find them on your own. We have the potential to be in the Champions League with what we have. We are open to strengthening the team, but the difficulty is to find what strengthens us. [You don’t always find that with] the players available on the market.
“Yes [we want players who can make an immediate impact], that is why it is so difficult as well. Man United bought Robin van Persie for £24 million and he is 29 years old. They have scouts all over the world. They looked everywhere. Don’t think that they just came in and bought Van Persie, they looked everywhere else. But to find the quality of striker that would strengthen a top Premier League team at the moment in the world is difficult.”
 
Henry Advising Walcott Over Role Change
Arsene Wenger has one again tipped Theo Walcott to transform himself from a right winger into a centre forward, just like his idol Thierry Henry did at the start of his Arsenal career.
Walcott has made no secret of his desire to play centrally and Wenger has given the 23-year-old the role he so craves in the last few matches. The results have been quite promising so far, with the former Southampton man scoring twice against Reading and then manufacturing a match-winning penalty in last weekend’s defeat of Wigan.
The Arsenal boss has been impressed with Walcott’s work in the middle and has now revealed that the player is taking advice from Henry regarding his new position.
Wenger said: “Thierry gives him advice, which is always important and Theo is a very intelligent boy. He understands very quickly when you tell him something and that’s why I think he can do very well in this position. I like what I have seen of Theo through the middle. It’s an interesting challenge (for him). I think he can take it on. He is now 23. I decided to play Thierry Henry at 23 through the middle because you have to learn a lot before.”
When asked if deploying Walcott in the centre could have a positive influence on the club’s contractual negotiations with him, Wenger replied: “No I don’t think (playing him as a striker will impact on negotiations). I want him to stay and I want him to extend his contract and I have always been consistent on that. Yes (talks are ongoing) and yes (I remain optimistic he will sign).
 
Wenger Hails MBE Recipient Rice
Arsene Wenger has hailed his former assistant coach Pat Rice and said that he regards him as “someone you could go to war with.”
After Rice was awarded an MBE for his services to the game of football, Wenger was affluent in his praise for the 63-year-old and said: “I am absolutely delighted because if someone deserves it, it’s Pat Rice. He had 100 per cent genuine commitment every day and you respect that when you see that from somebody, and he is someone you could go to war with. You would love to be in the trenches with Pat and those are very difficult qualities to find in modern society.”
Rice, who stepped down from his position at Arsenal as Wenger’s number two at the end of last season, himself said: “I’m delighted and honoured to be receiving an MBE. The news of the award came as a complete surprise and I’m just so flattered to be included in the Queen’s New Year’s Honours List.
“Football and Arsenal have been my life and I have so many fantastic memories during my career. I have been lucky to have played and worked with so many great individuals, and through hard work I have enjoyed some success along the way.
“I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has helped me throughout my career, and importantly, a special thank you to all my family, who have always been there for me and supported me throughout my career.”
Wenger Still Interested In Henry Return
Arsenal are still interested in bringing back club legend Thierry Henry for a second loan spell, coach Arsene Wenger has revealed.
The New York Red Bulls striker enjoyed a successful loan spell with the Gunners last season and since the MLS season has ended, there is a possibility that the same arrangement could be repeated this January.
Arsene, who will lose the services of striker Gervinho next month due to the African Cup of Nations, said: “I’ve not lost interest in him [Henry]. I’ve not completely [ruled it out]. But I haven’t spoken about it with him at all.
“He’s still coming today to practice with us. We are very close, but at the moment I think he has had a second spell at the club that was very successful. You have to be cautious that it’s not one time too many.”
 
Podolski: Wenger is ‘Super Coach’
Lukas Podolski has hailed the footballing philosophy of Arsene Wenger and believes that the Arsenal manager is a “super coach and human.”
Despite the fact that Wenger rarely allows him to play full 90 minutes, Podolski has nothing but respect for the Frenchman and he already feels settled in his new surroundings.
In an interview with Kicker, Podolski said: “[Wenger’s] a super coach and human. He speaks to everyone internally and has a clear philosophy about the inner-workings of the club. People are very respectful to me here. When I leave the training ground, I’m not followed. I am happy to have taken this step. Not just in terms of football as I have also settled in well.”

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