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Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger is optimistic striker Thierry Henry will reject the possibility of a move to Barcelona and stay with Arsenal next season.

The 28-year-old has been tipped to join the side that defeated Arsenal in Wednsday’s Champions League final.

But when asked if he thought Henry would leave the club, Wenger said: “I don’t know. I don’t think so.”

Henry had previously stated he will decide his club future before leaving for World Cup duty with France.

And Wenger added: “There’s not long to wait now and I will try to talk to him because we have to prepare for next season.

“We have many young players in our team. We have a big future as a big team but we need Thierry Henry to achieve that.

“He has such an influence on our side and can help us become a major force in the world.”

Henry refused to be drawn into a decision straight after the 2-1 defeat to Barca, deflecting questions about his future.

But he dropped a hint when he said: “We must pick up ourselves up and make sure we come back stronger next year”.

Henry’s former international team-mate Laurent Blanc believes that last night’s defeat might make it more likely that Henry stays at Arsenal.

“After seven years at Arsenal, Thierry doesn’t have too many options after losing this final,” Blanc told the Daily Express newspaper.

“I thought before the final that an Arsenal victory would complete the job for him. He has won Premierships and the FA Cup, so the Champions League would have meant there was nothing left.

“But losing means Thierry has unfinished business and is likely to stay with Arsene Wenger.”

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