Wenger convinced Henry held back Arsenal starlets

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The Mail on Sunday says some sources claim Wenger feared that his younger players might be intimidated by the presence of a man of Henry's superstar status.

In public, Wenger will remain respectful when he speaks for the first time about the transfer tomorrow and acknowledges the huge contribution Henry has made to the club, a period in which the Frenchman won two Premiership titles, the FA Cup twice and appeared in Champions League and UEFA Cup finals.

But in the privacy of the London Colney training ground and in the dressingroom at the Emirates Stadium, several sources testify that Wenger has made what he regards as a strategic decision.

Henry's presence, it is alleged, had become an unstable influence, with young players fearful of not being able to match his standards. As a result, the team atmosphere was said to be, at times, extraordinarily tense.