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Wenger plays down summer move for Villa

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has dampened speculation that he is on the brink of sealing a deal to bring Barcelona striker David Villa to the club.

Wenger attempted to bring Villa to north London during the January transfer window, when he believed he was close to completing a transfer for the Spain international World Cup-winner, but distanced himself from reports that a deal would be completed in the summer.

“I am not on the case of signing him [Villa],” he said. “I like the player, but we have some more immediate targets that are more important to us, like beating Blackburn [in the FA Cup] on Saturday.”

Meanwhile, Wenger has again opened the door to a potential return to Arsenal by Thierry Henry - but he will not be signing his countryman, who currently plays for New York Red Bulls, before he hangs up his boots.

Henry suggested earlier this week that he would relish the chance to return to Arsenal one day amid suggestions that he could be a global ambassador for the club when his playing career comes to an end.

“As a player it will be difficult for him to play here again - but in any other function, why not?” Wenger said. “He wants to focus on his career as a player and, when that is finished, he has a chance to focus on what he wants to do.

“You know, 80 to 90% of the players I had had here are intelligent and they know football, so that means they have the attributes to be a coach.

“Do they want that to be the direction they take in their lives? That is down to them to decide. Thierry has the qualities, of course.”

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