Thierry Henry admits he will miss Arsenal and claims he will be a “Gunner for life” despite his impending departure.
The London club’s record goalscorer is on the brink of completing a reported £16m move to Barcelona.
Henry is due in Catalonia to finalise terms today and is expected to be unveiled tomorrow, but he claims he leaves with a heavy heart.
“Arsenal will always be in my blood and in my heart and I will always remember you guys,” the 29-year-old told Arsenal TV.
“I said I was going to be a Gunner for life and I didn’t lie because once you are a Gunner you will always a Gunner. The club is in my heart and will remain in my heart forever.
“I am going to miss everybody. It’s going to be a huge miss. I will become now an Arsenal fan and look always for the result.
“I always gave 100%. I hope you appreciate what I did here. I appreciated what you did for me.”
Henry has cited the uncertainty over manager Arsene Wenger’s future and the recent departure of former vice chairman David Dein as factors in his decision to head for Spain.
He added: “I would like to thank everybody I have been involved with at Arsenal, especially the boss and Mr Dein.”
Henry has been one of the greatest players to grace the English game and his record at Arsenal has been outstanding with 226 goals coming in 364 appearances.
The former Monaco player joined the club in the summer of 1999 after a disappointing spell at Juventus and game of age under the guidance of Wenger.
He won two Premier League titles, finished as the competition’s top scorer on four occasions and collected the FA Cup three times.
He also appeared in last year’s Champions League final when the Gunners were beaten by the club he is joining, Barcelona.
The Spanish club first attempted to sign the player last summer but Henry declined, choosing to sign a new four-year contract.
Since then, however, the change behind the scenes at the Emirates Stadium has unsettled the Frenchman.
He added: “Before Mr Dein left, for whatever reason, I went to the boss and said ’I don’t want to leave’.
“There had been a lot of speculation about me and I assured him that I did not want to leave.
“But after Mr Dein left that unsettled the team and the boss. Especially as at the moment he has not committed himself to the club.
“He said he will see out his contract but you cannot be sure if he is going to go or stay (at the end of next season).
“Hopefully he is going to stay but I need to be certain and reassured of that. Everybody knows I am 30 [in August].
“The boss being unsettled, Mr Dein going, it did unsettle me a bit. After that I had thoughts of leaving the club.”