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The Pros And Cons Of Re-Signing Mathieu Flamini
After keeping his fitness levels in check and training extensively with the Gunners over the past two weeks, the Guardian, has reported that Arsenal are set to re-sign tenacious midfielder, Mathieu Flamini, as a free agent following his contract expiration with AC Milan, the team he left Arsenal to join in 2008.
The 29-year-old holding midfielder spent four years with Arsenal from 2004 to 2008, making a total of 153 appearances scoring eight goals. After arriving as a free agent from Marseille, he found himself on the fringes at Arsenal but got an extended run of games, albeit in an unfamiliar left back position, following injuries to Ashley Cole and Gael Clichy.
He rose to prominence in the 2007/08 campaign, where he forged a telepathic understanding with Cesc Fabregas in the heart of Arsenal’s midfield, with Tomas Rosicky and Aliaksandr Hleb providing width through the flanks.
Flamini’s performance at the San Siro was one of his best in the 2007/08 campaign. He shut the Golden Ball winner, Kaka, down over the course of the game.
After his amazing performances that season, Flamini ditched the Gunners for more money to join AC Milan, making 122 apps in five seasons with the club. Despite the fact that he was synonymous with first-team action at Arsenal, he failed to command a starting berth in Italy and even featured as a fullback more times than he expected.
Flamini’s potential return to Arsenal has been met with mixed emotions as some faction of the fans are very happy about his second coming while others have been unimpressed with the fact that the Gunners don’t want to invest in quality talent out there.
Without further ado, here are the pros and cons of signing Mathieu Flamini, from my own perspective.
He’ll Provide Adequate Cover in Midfield
This is the primary reason why Arsenal needs his services. Abou Diaby has been injured for as long as I can remember and Arsenal’s chief enforcer, Mikel Arteta, is also nursing a thigh injury. With Francis Coquelin shipped out on loan, the Gunners are desperately light in midfield and can only call on the services of Aaron Ramsey and Jack Wilshere to play as the double pivot, two players with injury records of their own.
Flamini is a natural defensive midfield with vast Premier League experience so he won’t be expected to go through any adaptation period of any sort. He will provide much-needed depth.
His Versatility will be useful
In Arsenal’s run to the Champions League final in 2006, Arsene Wenger placed his faith on Flamini to do a job for his team at left back. The Flanimal embraced his new role and excelled admirably before losing his place to Ashley Cole in the final in Paris. In his days at AC Milan, he was used as an emergency right back and even though he lacked the attacking instincts and crossing ability of a full back, there were no issues with his defensive side, as he ravaged opposition wingers in his spells as a make-shift fullback.
At Arsenal, the injuries keep ramping up in several position and that trend hasn’t stopped this season. Flamini will be a perfect cover in midfield as well as the full back positions. I even believe that he can do a good job as a center back if given the chance.
As the saying goes, all the best things in life are free. A player of Flamini’s quality would arrive at the Emirates for nothing and Arsene Wenger has to be heralded for convincing him to make a second spell at the club. He would not expect to walk into the first team but he arrives as a free agent, which is good for the club’s coffers, as they wouldn’t be touched yet again.
As if the club was planning to…
He Would Want to Pay the Fan’s Back
Flamini was a fan favorite in the 2007/08 season and was undoubtedly one of the finest holding midfielders in the business at that point in time. However, many Gooners were shocked to see the Frenchman jump ship after AC Milan offered him a higher salary than Arsenal, which ultimately meant that his four year stint was over.
Now that he’s returning to the club, some fans would be happy to see him strut his stuff but 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.
There are Better Defensive Midfielders Out There
If you’re left with a choice to purchase one defensive midfielder from a list containing Asier Illarramendi, Luiz Gustavo, Mathieu Flamini, Lars Bender, Ilkay Gundogan and Marouane Fellaini, the Frenchman would be the last player you would probably consider, which clearly means that a club like Arsenal with the resources at their disposal, should be going for the other available players in this aforementioned list.
Illarramendi and Luiz Gustavo currently have new employers but the Bender twins are still available and there’s also a man-mountain in the form of Fellaini that is yet to be snapped up.
Flamini is clearly a cheap option but Arsenal can really afford to sign any top player they want. This is the same team that had a 40m + 1 deal rejected for Luis Suarez. With 40m, the Gunners can buy any midfielder in that list, and there will be excess change left.
A Sign of Desperation
Arsene Wenger had the entire summer to find a defensive midfielder but he chose to fold his arms as many players slipped past him. Following a shocking home defeat to Aston Villa, the manager is now on a trolley dash to sign talent from Europe.
It’s a shame to see that he has gone for another cheap option like Flamini.
His Arrival Doesn’t Justify Francis Coquelin’s Loan Move
Arsene Wenger had accessed his squad for the 2013/14 season and decided that Francis Coquelin wasn’t going to be a part of it so he consciously decided to let him out on loan to Freiburg.
Signing Flamini clearly means that shipping Le Coq out was a poor piece of judgment from the boss, as it was glaring that Mikel Arteta would need cover in the wake of any injury but he never did that.
Now he has rolled back the years to sign Flamini, when he should have left Coquelin in the squad all along.
Flamini’s Injury Record
Despite the fact that Flamini is meant to be an adequate cover in the wake of any injuries, he’s a player with an extensive injury record of his own. Since his move to Milan, he has been plagued with a series of muscular injuries and one can only hope that he doesn’t come to the club to add to Arsenal’s injury woes as well.
I feel that signing Flamini on a short-term deal might turn out to be a good piece of business but in all honesty, there are better options out there and a club like Arsenal should aim higher.
How do you feel about the proposed signing of Flamini? Share your views below.