By Adam Clark
Last May Arsène Wenger looked up from his dugout in the Stade de France in Paris and saw Barcelona substitute Henrik Larsson enter the field.
With his side 1-0 to the good, the Arsenal manager would not have believed it to be the moment his Champions League dream ended. For 29 minutes Larsson orchestrated the game and when the final whistle blew it was Barcelona's name that was on the trophy.
With Wenger ready to welcome Larsson's new club, Manchester United, this weekend, is it a name that brings back bad memories?
"Not bad memories - nightmares," said Wenger at Friday's pre-match press conference. "But he is a player I like. I like first of all his intelligence and I like his team attitude. That is basically what I admire with Lauren who has just left us."
Larsson left Barcelona in the summer for Helsingborgs in his native Sweden but Sir Alex Ferguson made a shrewd deal to secure the striker on loan for the duration of Swedish football's winter break. It was not an option Wenger was aware of.
"He said he was stopping [playing major European football]," said Wenger. "I was not aware he was available."
That's not to say that Wenger is surprised by Larsson's continued success, indeed he tips the Swede's playing days to go on longer than the Premiership's current veteran striker.
"I thought frankly his time was over at 35-years-old," he said. "It is amazing - he'll beat [Teddy] Sheringham"
Copyright 2013 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.arsenal.com as the source 19 Jan 2007