Thierry Henry, the favourite to be named FIFA World Player of the Year, is not for sale at any price, claims Arsenal vice-chairman David Dein.
Henry, along with Ronaldo and Zinedine Zidane, are the threenominees for this year’s FIFA award – the results of which will be known later today.
Dein revealed that Henry had been the subject of a formal inquiry from Chelsea early last week but no bid had been received. The Arsenal chief also denied newspaper reports claiming Arsenal had rejected a bid of £50m.
“We had a formal approach that they wanted to buy him, which was at the beginning of last week but we said we are not interested at any price,’ said Dein.
“The next thing I read are quotes attributed to me that I had rejected a £50m bid. There has not been a bid tabled. It does not make any difference whatever the figure is – he is not for sale, he does not want to leave, we don’t want to sell him, he is under contract until 2007.”
Dein also revealed that during a trip to Spain last week he was approached by a number of journalists who told him that Real Madrid’s president Florentino Perez intended to sign Henry.
“I said to him hands off, in Spanish, English and French as well.”
Dein said that there were five main reasons why Arsenal would not sell Henry.
“If we sold Henry we would weaken our team; it would strengthen the opposition; it would destroy what Arsene and his coaching team are trying to achieve, which is success; it would send out the wrong signals to our fans that we are not ambitious, that’s very important and Thierry does not want to leave, he’s under contract and he’s happy here.”
“Look at what happened with Henry. Arsene Wenger plucked him from obscurity at Juventus. He was about to go on loan to Brescia.
“Our job satisfaction is winning trophies and we want to help the club win trophies. So, if Patrick Vieira lifts a trophy then that is a satisfaction in terms of what we try to do.”
Meanwhile, Wenger believes that Henry deserves his place in the world’s top three players.
“He’s been voted in the top three by all the coaches in the world who are certainly not stupid.
“Is he first, second or third? I don’t know, but it’s a huge recognition to think that everyone who votes in Fifa thinks you are the three best players in the world. He is only 26 years old, there’s a lot more to come out of him.
‘For the club it’s a huge award as well. It’s great if he gets this award, he lives a very clean life, a real example for the youth and you don’t always have that in football.”
Referring to the transfer speculation surrounding Henry, Wenger added: “He loves the club. We have got a good relationship which is normal. He’s happy here, he’s an ambitious boy and he feels that something is going on here.
“We want to build this club into one of the top-five biggest clubs in the world. We have made some way – we are slowly getting there.”