I was intrigued to see Thierry Henry on the pitch before the Blackburn game. Particularly given his appearance as a spectator followed his comments in the press during last week that he hoped to return to Arsenal, and was even willing to take a job as a water boy.
The warm applause and chants that Thierry received were befitting for an ex-player of his status, but it was unusual nonetheless to see him publicly paraded before the kick off. Dennis Bergkamp, in whose box I believe Thierry was sitting (maybe DB doesn't have it this year?), never received such treatment. Or perhaps did not ask for it.
Similarly, reports yesterday suggested that Patrick Vieira was at Stamford Bridge on Sunday to watch the dreary rubbish that passed for a top-of-the-table clash between Chelsea and Liverpool. Those reports were based on published comments from Didier Drogba, whose theatrics during the Liverpool game beggared belief at points, who was urging Chelsea to sign Vieira in January as cover once the African Cup of Nations dragged Essien (and Drogba) away from the Premier League.
Now, whilst we could all have a little go at being fantasy football managers over whether Henry or Vieira would be good re-signings, and we probably will at some point over the interlull, I find it extremely hard to imagine that Messrs Henry and Vieira were just over in London for a nice weekend and fancied seeing some football in an executive box. No, this little episode smacks of commercialism and self-interest.
Vieira was very publicly looking for a move from Inter over the Summer, and although he turned down Spurs, I suspect he will not refuse Chelsea.
I don't know what Henry's current contractual situation is with Barcelona, but it was reported at the time of his transfer to Barca in 2007 that he had signed a four year deal with them. Now, at 31 years old, Mr Henry has around 18 months left on his contract and is possibly sniffing around for one last big contract to top up his pension. Call me a cynic, and I know that Thierry has been very vocal about his love for all things Arsenal, but I have a sneaky suspicion that Chelsea will be looking very closely at Henry as well.
I am not a big fan of Carlo Ancelotti, but one thing that he was very good at Milan was extended the playing careers of his aging Milanese stars and getting some decent performances from them as well. Henry and Vieira are spring chickens compared to Paolo Maldini, will not cost Chelsea big transfer fees because of their age, and would arrive with bags of experience and pedigree to help push Chelsea to their first title since Jose Mourinho left.
Now maybe it won't happen, but maybe it will. I certainly think its far more likely that Vieira and /or Henry will appear at Chelsea than back at the Emirates.
We go to play Chelsea at the Bridge on 6 February 2010. The question I pose today is this - how many Arsenal double-winners will line up in Blue to face the new young Arsenal side? It could easily be three, and four is not out of the question.