NEW YORK -- Even before Thierry Henry and the New York Red Bulls announce any agreement, Alex Ferguson predicts the French forward will be a Major League Soccer success.
Henry's agent, Darren Dein, said this week "speculation is premature" the 32-year-old will join the Red Bulls after the World Cup. Henry has one season remaining in his contract with Barcelona, but he started just 15 league games in the season ending last weekend.
Speaking at a news conference Tuesday, the Manchester United manager made it sound as if Henry's decision to join MLS was a done deal.
"He's not a deteriorated player by any manner or means," Ferguson said. "He's still a very, very competent player. Maybe he doesn't have the blinding pace he had five years ago, but he's still quick. And he's experienced. I think as players get older, they know how to use speed better, a tiny bit better. I think he'll be a success here. I've got no doubts in my mind with that."
Speaking on a trip to New York in June 2008, Henry said he could see himself playing in the MLS.
"I love America. I love it here. And whenever I come here, I feel free," he said then. "Hopefully, one day."
Dein said Monday that no decision on Henry's future had been reached.
"He will decide after the World Cup," the agent wrote in an e-mail to The Associated Press.
Henry played for Arsenal from 1999 to 2007 before signing with Barcelona. During his time with the Gunners, he made a strong impression on Ferguson.
"He was their best player," Ferguson said. "Incredible speed he had in the game. And his goal-scoring was exceptional. When he moved to Barcelona, that continued."