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Liverpool and Arsenal set for showdown

50-50 Challenge
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By ESPN Staff

Mourinho happy to see Henry remain at Arsenal

Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho welcomed the news Thierry Henry had committed himself to Arsenal for a further four years, claiming he wanted his title rivals to present a strong challenge.

The Stamford Bridge side have won back-to-back Premiership titles with relative ease having successfully utilised the huge spending power of multi-millionaire owner Roman Abramovich.

An Arsenal side shorn of Henry, who had been linked to Barcelona, would have seriously hindered their bid to wrest control back from the Blues but Mourinho was pleased the Frenchman had decided to stay in England.

'I want Arsenal to be weak not strong,' he said.

'The reality is Arsenal have a good team - a young team with possibilities of improvement.

'They won nothing this season and that doesn't bring happiness to them it brings motivation. They will be much stronger next season.

'The young boys have more experience and for me Thierry is tops - no doubt about it.

'He is in the first level of the top strikers in the world and all the questions about his future will have finished.'

The Chelsea boss, meanwhile, stressed unhappy striker Didier Drogba and French defender William Gallas will not be allowed to quit the club, although he will listen to offers for forwards Hernan Crespo, Eidur Gudjohnsen and Carlton Cole, as well as goalkeeper Lenny Pidgeley and England right-back Glen Johnson.

'Didier has two more years on his contract and he is one of the players I consider not negotiable - he has no possibility to leave,' said Mourinho, speaking at the launch of Football Icon 2.

'If he does not play with happiness, he does not play - it is the same with Gallas.

'A lot of teams would like Drogba but they can't have him. That is the power of the clubs.'