Arsenal swansong for Chelsea man would be most controversial yet

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Could it really be? A sensational rumour is swirling around the ether that Arsenal, yes Arsenal, are lining up an offer to bring back Ashley Cole to the Emirates in the summer when his current deal with Chelsea expires.

Picture the year, it’s 2006 and as deadline day nears conclusion, Arsenal fans receive the earth-shattering news that their star left-back has signed for bitter London rivals and rolling in Russian dosh-merchants Chelsea.

To this day there still haven’t been many more acrimonious transfers in Premier League history than Cole’s switch to Chelsea, which then witnessed Gunners fans throwing £20 notes at the player when the teams met at Stamford Bridge a few months later.

Clearly incensed by ‘Cash-ley’s’ decision to take a giant leap in wages over in west London, Cole quickly became a figure of hate for Arsenal fans, but now those same fans could be faced with the prospect of seeing him don their colours again.

At 33, Cole has fallen some way down the pecking order at the 9/5-title shots, with right-footed Cesar Azpilicueta preferred ahead of him, while his place in the England team look lost to Leighton Baines.

With Chelsea widely expected to let his current deal run down, Arsene Wenger has emerged as the man who could open his arms up to Cole, despite all the furore which occurred when he left.

Of course, gifting older stars a swansong has become something of a trend for Wenger, who was happy to house club legend Thierry Henry on a short-term deal post-30, when his off-season was occurring in the MLS.

But the move which really could pave the way for a highly divisive swoop for Cole, came when the Frenchman let a 35-year-old Sol Campbell return to the Emirates back in 2010.

Signing Campbell from arch rivals Tottenham in the first place was a hardy decision indeed from Wenger, though opening up the Cole wounds would be his boldest yet.

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