Arsenal can survive without Cesc Fábregas, says Thierry Henry

• Club is always bigger than one player, says returning striker
• Wenger refuses to be drawn over Jagielka and Mata interest

Thierry Henry has told Arsenal they should not be concerned if Cesc Fábregas leaves for Barcelona, as the club should always be about the team, rather than any individual player.

Arsenal's record goalscorer makes a playing return to his former club this weekend with the New York Red Bulls for the Emirates Cup, in which they face Arsène Wenger's side on Sunday. Henry was asked if there can be a fixation with big-name players such as Fábregas, as there had been previously with himself and Patrick Vieira when they departed Arsenal.

Henry said: "Whichever team you play in, it is a team effort. In our time, we had a great team. It was not down to one, two, three, four, five, six or seven players. It is a team effort – that's it."

Arsenal have not won a major trophy since 2005 and when Henry was asked why he said: "They were so close so many times. Conceding goals when maybe you didn't expect them to concede goals but there is quality in this team to do it. I am an Arsenal fan, I just want to see them winning and I am one of those fans. You have got to stick with the guys even when they are not doing well."

Henry also hinted that he would one day like to manage the club, though not as the direct successor to Wenger. "I would like to," he said."I would love to be part of the club one day but it's not up to me. Everybody knows that one day I would like to come back here but, as a player, I doubt it. We all know that one day, he [Wenger] is going to have to stop or go. Like Sir Alex Ferguson, you don't want to go after him. And you certainly don't want to go after Arsène Wenger. The boss changed the face of the club and I would keep Arsène for life."

Wenger has been moved to question publicly for the first time whether Fábregas, who will not play this weekend, is totally committed to Arsenal. The Frenchman said: "I'm just worried that the player has to be completely focused and committed to our club. At the moment he's coming back from an injury and we have to sort out that situation. He is the captain of our club and we have to make sure he is really focused on being with us."

While Barcelona are yet to return with an improved offer after a £27m bid was turned down earlier in the summer, Wenger was unclear regarding whether Arsenal could wait until the transfer window closes. "Frankly I don't know," he said. "Because as I told you I don't master completely the situation – it depends on Cesc. I think he's in a moment when he thinks about it and it is a big concern. I always say he is torn between two loves: the club where he has been educated as a very young boy, and the club where he has been educated from 16 onwards and he has been given a chance. I personally can understand it – but of course we want to be certain about his complete commitment."

After Arsenal faded badly last season, Wenger warned that the new campaign would determine his squad's desire. "We were so close last year that is down to how much you want it," he said. "Unfortunately last year we finished with a bitter taste in our mouths but we know we were very close so we want to come back this year. The players have a good opportunity to show they have the needed character."

Regarding the future of Samir Nasri, who is a target of Manchester United, Wenger confirmed he hopes the French playmaker will stay: "Yes, of course. Samir loves the club." Wenger said he admires Valencia's Juan Mata – "I like the player, but that does not mean we will buy him" – and Phil Jagielka, but would also not be drawn on the Everton defender. "The player is under contract at Everton. If we want to buy a player, we need first the agreement of the club," he said.

Wenger also made his latest barbed remark about Manchester City, whose big spending has continued with the signing of Sergio Agüero. "There are two categories of club – those who travel with sweat and those who travel with petrol," he said. "We are those who travel with sweat."


Jamie Jackson

The GuardianTramp

Related Content

Article image
Arsenal captain Cesc Fábregas needs more rest, says Arsène Wenger
Arsène Wenger has admitted that Cesc Fábregas will need a longer rest to recover from his World Cup exertions

David Hytner

23, Jul, 2010 @9:30 PM

Article image
Cesc Fábregas says Ipswich Town won by playing 'rugby' against Arsenal
Arsenal's Cesc Fábregas said that his side will reach the Carling Cup final next month despite their defeat at Ipswich Town

Dominic Fifield

13, Jan, 2011 @10:30 PM

Article image
Thierry Henry still has the quality for Arsenal, says Per Mertesacker
Arsenal defender has been impressed with the club's former centre forward in training

David Hytner

28, Dec, 2011 @11:01 PM

Article image
Arsenal may struggle to keep Robin van Persie, says Cesc Fábregas
Cesc Fábregas says Arsenal cannot afford to lose Robin van Persie but may find it difficult to convince him to stay

David Hytner

13, Nov, 2011 @11:01 PM

Article image
Arsenal confirm Cesc Fábregas has season-ending injury
Cesc Fábregas has cracked his fibula and Arsenal are resigned to him missing the rest of the season

David Hytner

01, Apr, 2010 @10:00 PM

Article image
Barcelona play hardball with Arsenal over Cesc Fábregas deal
Cesc Fábregas's hopes of a swift resolution to talks between Arsenal and Barcelona over his return to Spainappear to have been dashed after the Catalans indicated they would be willing to wait until transfer deadline day

Dominic Fifield and Pete Jenson in Barcelona

06, Jul, 2011 @9:59 PM

Article image
Arsenal must decide if they really want to win, says Cesc Fábregas

Cesc Fábregas has expressed his frustration at Arsenal's refusal to spend big and believes Arsène Wenger would be out of a job in Spain

David Hytner

19, Apr, 2011 @5:22 PM

Article image
Cesc Fábregas says adiós to Arsenal and asks for move to Barcelona
Barcelona's pursuit of Cesc Fábregas appears to be nearing a successful conclusion after the Arsenal midfielder made it clear to Arsène Wenger that the time is right for him to return

Dominic Fifield

18, May, 2010 @6:17 PM

Article image
Arsenal give Barcelona 10 days to sign Cesc Fábregas
Arsenal have given Barcelona until the end of next week to sign their captain Cesc Fábregas

Jamie Jackson

19, Jul, 2011 @7:48 PM

Article image
Cesc Fábregas frustrated as Barcelona and Arsenal haggle over price
Arsenal's Cesc Fábregas fears his hopes of finally completing a move back to Barcelona could be frustrated beyond the weekend, with the clubs still at odds over their valuation

Sid Lowe and Dominic Fifield

05, Jul, 2011 @9:31 PM