Arsenal have today confirmed the signing of Mathieu Flamini on a free transfer. The Frenchman returns to the Emirates for a second spell with the club, having spent 4 years at Arsenal between 2004 and 2008.
Flamini’s contract at AC Milan (the club he left Arsenal for in 2008) expired this summer and he has been a free agent since. He has been training with the club for the last few weeks and a return has been heavily talked about in the British media.
Mathieu is now 29. He left the club in 2008 after a highly impressive season in 2007/08. Arsenal offered him a new deal, but it didn’t match what other clubs could offer him at the time. Flamini made 122 appearances for AC Milan in 5 years, having made 153 in just 4 years at Arsenal. He had a successful time at Milan, winning the Serie A title in 2011 as well as the Supercoppa Italiana that year as well.
During his first spell at Arsenal, he won an FA Cup in 2005 and played a massive part in the run to the Champions League Final in 2006, showing versatility by playing left-back for the side that season.
As stated earlier, he had his best year at Arsenal in 2007/08 and then left, which was a big shame. He may have won titles, but I feel he would have been better off at Arsenal during those 5 years.
The French midfielder feels he has unfinished business at Arsenal. He told Arsenal Player the following after signing his contract with the club:
“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.” – Mathieu Flamini on re-signing for Arsenal.
As said in previous blog posts, Arsenal need numbers. Flamini is not a glamorous signing because we’ve already had him once and it’s a free transfer. That doesn’t mean it isn’t a good signing. He gives us an extra body in midfield and in defence if needed, so versatility is one strength of his. As well as this, he knows the club already, having played here for 4 years. He’s trained with the current squad over the past three weeks, so has had time to gel in with those players he didn’t know from beforehand. So this move could be a very good one for the club and shouldn’t be mocked because it’s a free.
Arsenal do need to add more this summer, there’s no doubting that. They have added a very solid player today though.
Flamini will wear the number 20 shirt in his second spell at the club.