Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Blues Admit Defeat in Chase for Henry

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Blues Admit Defeat in Chase for Henry

Article excerpt

Byline: MATT HUGHES;MICHAEL HART;STEVE STAMMERS

CHELSEA today admitted defeat in their attempt to sign Thierry Henry because he is "too central" to Arsenal's plans.

The club have not confirmed making a second bid for the French striker but appear to have made an informal inquiry through a third party to David Dein.

The Arsenal vice-chairman was approached by an unnamed person purporting to represent Chelsea last Monday, who was told in no uncertain terms that the 26-year-old is not for sale at any price.

Chelsea had a formal, faxed offer rejected last summer, and appear to have given up hope of landing a player who could be named World Footballer of the Year in Basel later today.

Chelsea's acting chief executive Paul Smith said: "In the summer there was talk of Chelsea moving for Thierry, but Arsenal made it clear he was too central to their plans.

I can see why."

Manager Claudio Ranieri added: "Thierry's a very good player but Arsenal will not sell him. I do not know whether Chelsea made a bid. I am not Mr Abramovich."

It was reported yesterday that Chelsea's billionaire owner Roman Abramovich made an offer for Henry at last week's Champions League match between Arsenal and Lokomotiv Moscow. Dein was quoted as saying he had turned down a formal bid for Henry, but Chelsea believe his words were misinterpreted.

Smith added: "David Dein called me yesterday to apologise and sent his apologies to Roman. The journalist put two and two together and got five.

Roman was at the game as a spectator and there's nothing in it whatsoever."

Dein also denied that Arsenal rejected a [pounds sterling]50million bid for Henry. He said: "Mr Abramovich didn't table a bid and we didn't refuse it. There was a face-to-face meeting and a formal enquiry but we told Chelsea that Thierry Henry was not for sale at any price.

"Fifty million or [pounds sterling]150million - that's not the point. It makes no difference what the figure is. …

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