Back in February, when Arsenal were on the verge of their traditional second-half-of-the-season collapse, controversial reports emerged claiming Arsene Wenger was keen to bring Ashley Cole back to north London from Chelsea.
Two months earlier the veteran Gunners boss, following the 0-0 draw with Chelsea, also confirmed to reporters that he would consider re-signing the revered left-back if he required a player for that specific position.
However, when Cole was released from Chelsea this summer, Arsenal - as far as we know - failed to follow up their interest with a formal contract offer. Instead, the 33-year-old penned a two-year deal with Serie A giants AS Roma.
Cole: Not finished just yet
The notion that Cole is a washed-up full-back, and past his best, stems from Jose Mourinho dropping him in favour of Cesar Azpilicueta mid-way through last season.
Cole endured a frustrating 2013/14 campaign and subsequently missed out on a place in England's World Cup squad, prompting the left-back to announce his international retirement.
But, by the end of the showpiece international tournament in Brazil, many were in agreement that England boss Roy Hodgson made the wrong decision to leave Cole out of his squad in favour of Leighton Baines and Luke Shaw.
Cole showed in the latter stages of last season's Champions League that he remains capable of mixing it with Europe's elite - and his performances did not go unnoticed by Roma, who have reason to believe they have landed one of the bargains of the summer.
That Arsenal chose not to go back for Cole this summer wasn't a major shock. The club's fans have an ever-growing list of former players they love to hate - and Cole's name features very close to the top, alongside the likes of Samir Nasri, Robin van Persie and Emmanuel Adebayor.
But had Wenger made the brave decision to re-sign the divisive England centurion, it wouldn't have taken long until everything was forgiven and forgotten. Football is a fickle sport and all it takes is a few good performances to win over a set of supporters - even a set of previously scorned supporters.
Watch: Ashley Cole defensive masterclass
Gibbs and Monreal good enough?
If Arsenal are to win their first Premier League title since 2004 next season, they need quality throughout their squad. The likes of Chelsea and Manchester City possess two top-class players for almost every position - but Arsenal's left-back spot is currently a concern.
Kieran Gibbs is certainly a talented full-back, but only the most ardent Arsenal supporter would dare claim he was in Cole's class. This is also a player with a chequered injury record.
Meanwhile, the signing of Nacho Monreal has hardly been a roaring success. Arsenal supporters used to fear seeing the name 'Andre Santos' on the team-sheet before matches - and some of those negative feelings have crept back since the acquisition of the lightweight Spain international in January 2013.
Cole, though, would have bolstered Wenger's defensive options - significantly.
There's a good chance that the Arsenal boss felt Cole was simply off-limits because of the player's poor relationship with the Gunners' faithful.
But, in all honesty, that shouldn't have held the Frenchman back from doing what he felt was best for Arsenal Football Club.
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