What kind of welcome would Ashley Cole receive at Emirates Stadium if he were in an Arsenal kit?
Chelsea star Ashley Cole could return to Arsenal in a remarkable twist after Rafa Benitez, the new manager at Stamford Bridge, admitted the England left back could depart at the end of the season.
Asked whether both Cole and Frank Lampard were likely to leave the Blues with their contracts up in the summer, Benitez delivered the shock verdict.
“I think so,” confirmed Benitez. “I think that’s the case at the moment.”
With Cole set to depart Stamford Bridge, it is former club Arsenal who could take advantage.
Arsene Wenger has great faith in his current first choice left back Kieran Gibbs, and rather less confidence in his backup option Andre Santos, choosing to play an out of position centre back in his place in Thomas Vermaelen in Gibbs’ absence.
The trouble for Wenger – and Gibbs – is that those absences are all to frequent thanks to his injury concerns, and Ashley Cole would be a useful signing.
Whilst Ashley Cole’s homecoming sounds incredibly unlikely, anything can happen in football.
Nobody expected Fernando Torres to transfer to Chelsea from Liverpool for £50m and instantly forget how to play. Nobody expected Rafa Benitez to ever become Chelsea manager after developing a sort of mini-rivalry during his time as Liverpool manager.
It is fair to say that Ashley Cole doesn’t usually receive a heroes’ welcome when he plays at Emirates Stadium with Chelsea, but football fans are a fickle bunch, and that could well change if he were wearing an Arsenal kit.
The England left back is still one of the best players in his position – if not the best in world football – and certainly has a few years at the highest level, but could a move to Arsenal really happen after all that has occurred between Cole and Arsenal fans in recent years?
On paper this move makes sense: former Gunner returns to the club where he made his name to mentor upcoming player who looks set to succeed him in the England setup, and finally reclaims his place as a club legend and conquers the naysayers.
It sounds like the perfect story.
However, we feel that the likelihood of this actually happening is quite low – and Cole making a fairy-tale return to Arsenal will almost certainly never happen.
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