Kick Off: Wenger shuts down talk of Henry loan deal

After weeks of speculation surrounding the potential offseason loan of Thierry Henry, it looks like the New York Red Bulls striker isn’t headed anywhere after all.

Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger told the English media on Tuesday that Henry, who has been training with his former club in London during the Major League Soccer offseason, is no longer a target for a loan deal.

Wenger made similar comments earlier this week about  Henry’s loan status but gave his most definitive answer yet following a 1-1 draw against Southampton.

“I think he goes away somewhere,” Wenger said. “He is not ready – he has just come back from holiday so at the moment we are not on that case.”

Asked directly if the New York Red Bulls striker was coming back on loan, Wenger said: “No.”

The same cannot be said, however, for fellow Red Bulls Designated Player Tim Cahill, who continues to draw interest from Sunderland. There’s no confirmation from the Red Bulls and a deal certainly isn’t done yet, but this report indicates that the two sides have held “productive talks” about a loan.

The Red Bulls are still operating without a head coach in the new year, and there’s no indication this morning that they’re any closer to making their choice. But here’s a report from the folks at Big Apple Soccer that says two former MLS head coaches are no longer candidates for the job. Apparently, neither is Iran manager Carlos Quieroz, who made quick work of a link to the club: "There is nothing to say."

On to the latest silly-season rumors, and it appears the LA Galaxy have some competition if they’re truly looking to land Chelsea great Frank Lampard. Italian side Lazio are the latest club to throw their hat in the ring.

So what exactly does Lampard have left to offer anyway? Here’s a look at whether or not a career rebirth in a new locale is a possibility for the Englishman.

It’s been awhile since a prominent Polish player tore up the ranks of MLS, but here’s some talk that that could change. Polish international and Bordeaux attacking midfielder Ludovic Obraniak is talking about making a move stateside. [ITALIAN]

The Columbus Crew, meanwhile, find themselves in an interesting position involving their Chilean pros Milovan Mirosevic and Sebastián Miranda. Club officials have spent time recently shooting down the rumors that Mirosevic is headed back to Chilean side Universidad Católica, but it looks like Miranda could be on his way out of MLS.

“There have been several contacts since I arrived in Chile, through my representative,” Miranda says. “I have wanted to return to play here. I would love to return to Universidad Católica. I know the club and would be a great opportunity.”

Espanyol captain Joan Verdú is back in the news and that link to the Seattle Sounders is still a possibility, with this report saying he could join the team as early as this month.

There is no confirmation from FC Dallas officials yet, but it appears the club has agreed to a loan deal to send Homegrown left back Moises Hernandez to Costa Rican side Saprissa. Saprissa released a statement about the deal on Tuesday. [SPANISH]

The latest word on Landon Donovan? It appears there is none just yet, but LA Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena is operating as if his superstar will return in 2013 despite radio silence so far from the LD camp.

And from Landon Donovan to Rafa Márquez, it looks like the former New York Red Bulls Designated Player has ruffled a few feathers in Mexico since signing a new deal with Club León. Former Mexican international and current Atlas coach Tomás Boy says that Márquez “simply went where they offered him more money. Everyone knew that.”

US forward Clint Dempsey rang in the new year on Tuesday in style, notching his first goal of 2013 (and his first goal in front of the White Hart Lane crowd) just minutes after coming off the bench in a win over Reading. Check out the video here.

The first Kick Off the new year means it’s time to look back at 2012 and look forward to 2013, so let’s get to it. Check out these year-in-review pieces covering the Seattle Sounders, Sporting Kansas City, FC Dallas, Toronto FC and the beginning of the year-end “Creamsicle” awards in Houston.

Speaking of the Dynamo, club legend Brian Ching is coming back. The veteran striker says he hasn't lost the fire and passion for the game just yet: "I still feel like I can contribute.”

And what about the year ahead? Here are some resolutions for the Chicago Fire, the top soccer stories in New York, a look at Canadian soccer in the year to come and some bold predictions for 2013, including an MLS team winning the CONCACAF Champions League.

Curious about what’s to come in the new year to recent TFC signing Gale Agbossoumonde? Here’s an in-depth feature on the highly touted US youngster.

And will the new year bring more progress on the proposed soccer-specific stadium in Queens? New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg has made it one of his priorities for 2013.

For all those “Best of 2012” lists, somewhere we lost track of the worst plays of the year. Luckily the folks at Soccer America haven’t, and they included the three worst gaffes of the year right here.

And last but not least, how extravagant was your new year’s celebration? Probably not as indulgent as the one savored by the Beckham family. Here’s how they spent the holiday season. Musts

Best of 2012: The Breakout Player of 2013

2013 North American Soccer Calendar

Trivia: 13 Questions for 2013

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