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Kick Off: Report says Henry set for Arsenal loan

Since it’s coming from The Times in England, we take notice.

The English paper is reporting that New York Red Bulls star Thierry Henry is set to “make a surprise return” to Arsenal on a one-month loan deal as the Gunners make do without two star players lost to the African Cup of Nations.

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger himself admits that the prospect of a loan deal for Henry “has to come through my brain at some stage.” But he also confesses that he hasn’t made a formal approach to Henry or the New York Red Bulls.

Fellow DP David Beckham was not spotted at the Paris-St. Germain match on Sunday night after all. The LA Galaxy midfielder, who is deciding whether to move to Ligue 1 or remain in MLS with LA, was photographed by People.com heading “for a flight to London” with his family. Did you know he wore glasses?

The Galaxy are still not standing pat. El-Hadji Diouf himself claims there’s been contact with Bruce Arena’s side regarding a potential January move. But the free-spending Russians at Anzhi are also on the prowl, based on what he told Senegalese paper L’Observateur. (FRENCH)

Brush up on your French this holiday season. Especially if you’re a fan of the Philadelphia Union, Chivas USA or New England Revolution. According to MLS-News.fr, the Philadelphia Union will be signing a new defender while Chivas USA are closing in on a veteran midfielder. Meanwhile, in the same report, Cameroonian Théophile Junior N'Tamé is being linked with the New England Revolution. (FRENCH)

Another overseas move is being made by US Olympic Team hopeful Greg Garza. The left back departed Olympic camp in Florida to reportedly sign with Club Tijuana in Mexico, joining fellow Americans Edgar Castillo and Joe Corona.

Oswaldo Minda, who reports indicate will marshal the Chivas USA midfield in 2012, wears his emotion on his sleeve. This article says he was in tears after playing his last game for Deportivo Quito, a championship victory over Emelec: “It’s a pity that I have to leave this institution that has given me everything, and now is the reason for these tears.” (SPANISH)

The new class of Generation adidas players is expected to be unveiled this week, according to this report, which also reveals the first GA signing coming from UC Santa Barbara.

One current GA player, Philadelphia Union reserve midfielder Amobi Okugo, has succeeded in attracting serious Bundesliga interest through training with the US Olympic side during the camp held in Germany. He says his one-week training stint at Bundesliga side Freiburg was initiated by the German club: “After our [U-23s] last camp in Duisburg, Freiburg asked me to train with them. … The Freiburg coaches said they were going to talk to my agent, and they gave me a lot of positive feedback.”

The Seattle Sounders are venturing overseas with a combine designed especially for them in Trinidad and Tobago. This reports contains a few more details about the tryouts, and how they fit into a grander plan to export more Trinidadian players.

Find out the name of the Namibian teenager who slipped through the grasp of the New York Red Bulls in September and has now signed with Rangers in Scotland.

Meanwhile, the Red Bulls say there’s been no formal approach for the club to play in the Audi Cup this summer. Their participation was reported as a done deal on Friday but “there has not been a formal approach,” according to a Red Bulls executive.

In Dallas, the move to trade Honduran winger Marvin Chávez to the San Jose Earthquakes has not been met favorably by the FC Dallas faithful.

The opposite is true in the new relationship between MLS and NBC. In this New York Times feature on NBC Sports Group chairman Mark Lazarus, MLS Commissioner Don Garber reveals that the league passed on a higher rights fee from Fox Soccer to go with NBC because of their vision for the new NBC Sports Network.

Speaking of TV, the only televised action we have for you today is a second-division match from England featuring an American. Jonathan Spector leads Birmingham City into an away match at Crystal Palace (2:30 p.m. ET, Fox Soccer Plus).

If you’ve yet to see Clint Dempsey’s imperious header that stood as the game-winning goal against Bolton Wanderers, we have the highlights right here. (VIDEO)

And here’s photographic evidence that American midfielder Stuart Holden is back training at Bolton Wanderers. (PHOTO)

Since the soccer offering is so paltry this Monday, spend some time going through the video of the Top 10 diving headers of 2011. Guess which MLS goal made the cut. (VIDEO)

Check out what former Kansas City and Colorado midfielder Claudio López is up to these days in his native Argentina: He’s a rally race car driver and finished in last place in his national competitive debut after suffering two flat tires. (PHOTO / SPANISH)

Here was a strange sight from the international soccer weekend. Bayern Munich’s Daniel Van Buyten fires a free kick that literally makes the ball explode. Bet you didn’t know the insides of a professional match ball looked like this. (VIDEO)

It’s worth watching this video for the confused look on Lionel Messi’s face as he walks around with an oversized Toyota key moments after winning the FIFA Club World Cup. A group of Japanese reporters got more of a laugh from their one question than Messi did: “How do you think your life will be after soccer?” At least that’s what we got from the Spanish translation. (VIDEO)

It was a great day in the Messi family as his cousin Maximiliano Biancucchi scored the first goal in a 2-0 Olimpia triumph which gave them the league title in Paraguay.

The weekend was not so nice to Aston Villa forward Darren Bent, who was ruled out of his club’s match against Liverpool due to injury. But while Aston Villa’s American goalkeeper Brad Guzan and his teammates were suffering a 2-0 loss, Bent was photographed doing his Christmas shopping. It has set off a major debate in soccer circles. (PHOTO)

Lastly, they’re calling this the best own goal of all-time. It came from the Hong Kong Premier League but it is still definitely world-class. (VIDEO)

MLSsoccer.com Must-Reads:

Vote among 20 finalists for the 2011 MLS Moment of the Year

Houston’s Geoff Cameron wants fair shot at the USMNT

Portland’s newest DP says he wants to be the difference-maker for the Timbers

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