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Henry slams Dein exit amid transfer talk

Speculation over the future of Thierry Henry will intensify after he slammed the exit of vice chairman David Dein, saying it 'wasn't a clever move' and he was 'devastated', while admitting he is flattered to be linked with a move to the likes of AC Milan.

In an exclusive interview with ESPNSoccernet Press Pass host Derek Rae, the Arsenal skipper discussed his future at the Emirates amid talk of a move and bemoaned the loss of a man who, in tandem with manager Arsene Wenger, had been central to the Gunners success.

Dein left Arsenal earlier this year due to unreconcilable differences with the rest of the board, believed to surround the proposed investment from American businessman Stan Kroenke.

Henry was in no doubt about the effect of Dein's departure when pressed on his future following recent newspaper stories in which Carlo Ancelotti confirmed his interest.

Henry told ESPNSoccernet Press Pass: 'It's great to hear [being linked to AC Milan]. How can you not think that? On the other side as I said to you, and so many times at the moment, I'm an Arsenal player.

'Everybody knows that a lot of stuff happened at the club recently that wasn't supposed to happen. In terms of the departure of Mr Dein, the boss has been unsettled and a lot of players have been unsettled in the club. So the only thing I can tell you is right now I'm an Arsenal player but hearing that is nice to hear, I can't deny it.

The Gunners' record goalscorer did not hide his disappointment at Dein's exit. He said: 'I was devastated. Everybody who knows Mr Dein, we know that the guy loves football. He knew everybody at the stadium, the name of everybody and I mean everybody at the club, whether you play for the youth team or you clean the dressing room - he knew everybody.

'He's the type of guy who used to turn up raining, snowing, windy, to watch the under-17s, the under-19s, the reserves - everybody - on his own at the training ground and one person that I wouldn't have liked to leave the board, would have been Mr Dein.

'But it's out of my hands, I'm not up there. I don't know what happened, and I don't want to know what happened.'

Henry's respect for Dein was further underlined by his opinion that he, with Wenger, has made Arsenal the club it is today.

'What I'm saying to you is that Arsene and Mr Dein, although no one is bigger than the club, are really close to being Arsenal,' Henry added in his interview with ESPNSoccernet Press Pass. ' If you ask me, they're the two people for me who come really close to ever one day saying it.

'But I would like to say that whatever happened, Mr Dein leaving wasn't a clever move.

'So far I'm here, talking to you, about a thing that happened that I didn't agree with but sometimes that's just the way it is. It happened, and we have to move on.'

Despite Henry's future in north London being in doubt, he sees the signs of recovery for an Arsenal side which has been off the pace in the Premiership in recent seasons.

'The potential is definitely there,' he told ESPNSoccernet Press Pass. 'The signs are definitely there. So now let's hope we can put that all together and bring back some silverware. Man United didn't win the league for three years and finally they did it - who would have said that 10 years ago? So things happen sometimes, you have to keep going and make sure you can be better and have a great season next season.'

Henry also admitted that the move to the Emirates made it difficult to compete: 'At the end of the day, everybody knows all of our resources went into building the new stadium. Therefore, you have to deal with what you have. So that's why I would like to give credit to some of the youngsters. Maybe if we don't have a new stadium, we would have done better and maybe have more players, I don't know.

'Sometimes you can't invent something that you don't have or create something that you don't have, so you have to deal with what you have. We're still playing good football, ok, not winning anything at the moment but you know, you have to give us that at least.'

• Thierry Henry's full views on Arsenal will be available on ESPN Soccernet Motion on Friday. His views on France will follow at the weekend.