Unfortunately, there proved to be no truth in the rumour. Hoddle, it seems, didn't want to go back to Spurs. Not now the returning Ralph Coates snapped up his favoured squad number.
The recall of Thierry Henry and Paul Scholes to competitive duty this weekend certainly took us all by surprise. Only on Sunday I was confidently assuring a fellow scribe that Alex Ferguson was more likely to play for United than Scholes, a player who told interviewers back in October at the launch of his autobiography, that he wasn't missing playing and anyway his legs had gone.
Mind, it was a wonderful moment for nostalgists, seeing the two former titans stepping out once more in their clubs' colours, like you'd somehow put the live action into reverse. Football's historical re-enactment society in full session was a glorious sight. The past re-lived before our eyes.
And both the old boys did well. Against Manchester City, Scholes completed 69 passes in half an hour, roughly 69 more than Anderson can manage in an entire season. He only failed to reach his target twice (though admittedly one of those two errors led to a City goal).
With his brisk, efficient and hugely celebrated goal, Henry sent out a vital message at the Emirates: he proved that someone other than Robin van Persie is physically capable of scoring for Arsenal.
That was the point of both of these unlikely, Sinatra-like returns: it was to demonstrate to others what can be done. And for both clubs, both managers and both sets of supporters, that was of huge value. United need a presence in midfield who can retain possession and prompt attacks. Arsenal need somebody other than their skipper to score occasionally.
But to regard the returns as anything more than the most temporary of symbolic sticking plaster is fanciful. The idea that United's Paul Scholes-sized hole in the middle of the park can be rectified by persuading out of retirement Paul Scholes, a man who had grown exhausted by the endless round of the game five years ago, is ludicrous.
Scholes of 2002 was the finest midfielder I have ever seen, a man of supreme football intelligence and technique. A decade on, he is still a hero, but a historic one. As a player now, he might still be gifted enough to score a dozen goals in a veterans kickaround as he did in Oldham recently, but the Premier League is a somewhat quicker proposition.
Sure his joining in training may well encourage some of the younger elements at United, the presence of a real legend may well give a lesson in application and focus to those who need it. But at 37, with his legs working about half a second behind his formidable brain, Scholes is not going to win Alex Ferguson the title. To do that, the Manchester United manager needs to visit the market. With a very substantial cheque book. And soon.
As for Henry, well, at least, unlike Scholes, he was still playing football for a living, albeit in the semi-retirement that is the MLS. And he has signed up largely to provide a bit of cover while others are engaged elsewhere. But his new mullah-chic tonsorial arrangement is indicative of the fact he cannot be around for long. For such a beautifully balanced, sleek athlete, the man looked ancient when he came on against Leeds. The message his appearance sent to Arsenal fans was this: enjoy the moment while you can, it won't last.
Mind, how the weekend's returns will have given the managers of the Premier League's less financially endowed clubs a sudden jolt of hope. Here were the two operations with the biggest cash turnovers raiding their own pasts to find recruits to steer them into the immediate future.
Already Alan Pardew seems to have caught the bug, rumoured as he is to be considering a return for Andy Carroll to Tyneside. Mind, given the way Carroll has been playing recently, you have to think even a knackered and arthritic Scholesy and the venerable Henry might seem a better long-term option.