Barca confirms $32 million deal for Henry

Barcelona said that personal terms on a four-year contract with the France striker were all that was left to be worked out.

updated: June 25, 2007 06:58 IST
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Arsenal striker Thierry Henry will join FC Barcelona after it agreed to pay $32 million on Saturday.

Barcelona said that personal terms on a four-year contract with the France striker were all that was left to be worked out.

Henry confirmed the move earlier on Saturday in an interview with French sports daily L'Equipe.

"I still must pass a medical on Monday but yes, I have chosen Barcelona," Henry said. "I will sign there for the next four seasons."

The 29-year-old Frenchman will undergo a physical before being presented by the club on Monday.

"I have chosen Barcelona for the football they play, for their history and their stadium," said Henry, who in the past had said he would only leave Ashburton Grove for the Nou Camp.

Arsenal's confirmation

Earlier Saturday, Arsenal confirmed on its web site that it had reached an agreement to send Henry to the Catalan club.

Henry said that the north London club's failure to extend coach Arsene Wenger's contract beyond 2008 "was another very important factor" for choosing to leave.

Henry has been with Arsenal since 1999, scoring a club record 226 goals in 364 appearances for the Gunners. He helped the London club win two Premier League titles and three FA Cups.

Henry, who turns 30 in August, still had three years left on his contract with Arsenal. But speculation of his departure increased after the London club failed to win a trophy last season and finished only fourth in the Premier League for the second year in a row.

Henry acknowledged he was upset that David Dein, who was responsible for bringing manager Arsene Wenger to the club in 1996, quit as vice chairman of Arsenal.

"I cannot take the chance to be there without Arsene Wenger and David Dein," Henry told British daily The Sun on Saturday. "David Dein is no longer there, and there is no denying the fact this has destabilized the team and the manager."

Wenger, who has led Arsenal to three Premier League and four FA Cup triumphs, has said he has no plans to follow Dein away from the club. But he, too, has been linked with a possible move to Barcelona or Real Madrid.

Henry spent much of last season sidelined because of stomach and groin injuries. But he remains one of the game's biggest stars with his ability to score top-quality goals and beat defenses with his fast runs and dribbling.

Henry also helped the Gunners reach the Champions League final in 2006, only for Arsenal to lose to Barcelona. He was frustrated that Arsenal did not strengthen its playing squad with big names and expressed his disappointment when the Gunners sold Patrick Vieira to Juventus two years ago.

"I am sad to leave Arsenal. I would have stayed there for life," Henry said. "I didn't want things to happen that way but I'm also ready for a new challenge."