Thoughts on Mathieu Flamini’s Return to the Emirates
After much speculation about his potential arrival to the team he has been training with to keep fit all summer, Arsene Wenger has swooped for tenacious defensive midfielder, Mathieu Flamini, making him his second signing this season. As expected, the arrival of the prodigal son hasn’t lit any fireworks as the fans hope to see marquee signings in the forms of Lars Bender, Marouane Fellaini and even Yohan Cabaye that recently went rogue at Newcastle.
Arsene Wenger has also shared his thoughts on the signing of Flamini, stating that he brought in the Frenchman for more reasons than one. The manager spoke about his physicality, the fact that he knew the club inside out, his huge desire to come back, his versatility among others. The manager also stated that Flamini’s attitude and fitness convinced him to take a punt on the same player that ditched the Gunners five years ago.
This was a player that was more or less in the fringes in his first three seasons with the club and he did a very good job at left back while Ashley Cole and Gael Clichy were out injured. Following a grueling 2007 Copa America campaign, clun captain, Gilberto SIlva, requested an extended break citing fatigue as his key reason and the manager took the bold decision to play the Flamster alongside Golden Boy, Cesc Fabregas and they forged an extremely telepathic understanding in the 2007/08 campaign.
With Tomas Rosicky and Aliaksnadr Hleb on the flanks, Arsenal had a solid midfield that created chances on the go for the likes of Emmanuel Adebayor, Eduardo da Silva and that bloke with the little boy inside him.
After leaving the club for the greens in 2008, Flamini failed to command a first-team berth in AC Milan and the fact that he got injured a lot didn’t help his cause either. His versatility came in handy for the Italian outfit as he featured as a right back more times that he would have expected, but as you would expect from a level-headed player like Flamini, he just did his job on the pitch without complaints.
Five years, 153 appearances for Milan and one Scudetto later, Flamini is now a free agent and like the classic tale of the Prodigal Son in the Bible, Wenger has killed a fatted calf for the player and has welcomed him back with open arms.
The player himself has voiced his thoughts on his return to the club stating that he has unfinished business here at the Emirates,
“It feels good to be back home. I have some unfinished business with Arsenal so it’s a great feeling to be back. Once you’re a Gunner, you’re always a Gunner.
“Unfinished business because we had the opportunity a few times when I was there to win trophies and we didn’t. I’m thinking about the Champions League final, the 2007/08 season when we were in the running for the first place and we didn’t close it.
“I feel good, I have been training for three weeks with the fitness coach, Tony Colbert. So I feel ready to start competing for Arsenal, especially on Sunday – it’s going to be a big game.
“It’s a derby, everyone knows how important it is. We have to win it and we have to be ready for it.”
Many fans have taken Flamini’s quotes with a pinch of salt but his arrival has mitigated a short-term challenge for the club, as Arsenal was desperately in need of cover in central midfield following the injury suffered by Mikel Arteta. Jack Wilshere and Aaron Ramsey were also on the end of some bashing from the Fenerbahce thugs and their fitness has come under question.
Many fans are obviously disappointed that the manager hasn’t delved to remove the dust from Arsenal’s cheque book to sign a football figurehead but in Mathieu Flamini, the Gunners now have committed versatile midfielder that would be a presence in midfield and protect the back four while maintaining his positional awareness. The arrival of Flamini in midfield will also liberate Ramsey like Fabregas in the 2007/08 campaign, as the Flamster inspires confidence in midfield.
Many would be quick to point out that he’s not the same player that he was in the 2007/08 campaign but permit me to say that Flamini is now more experienced, he has seen life in a very physical league like the Serie A and most importantly, the Flamster has seen that the grass is not always greener on the other side.
Having a player like Flamini will also give Wenger room to rotate his squad and he can play as a fullback in the wake of another injury crisis or when the need arises. A few weeks ago, I ran a poll to know the fans opinion on the potential return of Flamini and 63 percent of these Arsenal fans wanted him back because he would provide adequate cover for the Gunners.
Flamini has stated that he has “unfinished business” at the club which means he would be on a personal mission to win the fans back and he can only do that with some stellar performances on the pitch. Let’s hope to see the Flamini of old that was a thorn in the flesh of opposition attackers.
Say what you must but I’m happy to see Flamini back at the Emirates.
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