Arsenal Failed in Not Offloading Mathieu Flamini


Arsene Wenger had a quiet transfer deadline day. It was a big blank. Naturally, everyone has lashed out at that silence and called it complacency. Criticism has rained in on the club and the gaffer for the lack of any new signings. A new signing or two could have worked wonders, sure, but this is a club that is already built to win. However, that is a story for another day

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The faith that Arsene Wenger is showing in his current stock, and it is a stoic stock, could work wonders too.

All that being said, Arsenal still has Mathieu Flamini. The French midfielder may very well be blocking the arrival of a new defensive midfielder but even if he is not, he is still taking up a vital space that could be used by someone else.

If Flamini really is going to have no part in this Arsenal squad, then why is Wenger holding on to him? Is it to prove a point that he will not pay just to have him leave? Haven’t we been in situations like this before with Nicklas Bendtner? In the end, who loses more, the player or the team?

If Flamini really is holding out to be paid off, then he is missing playing time, but if he is in it for a cushy paycheck then he is winning. On the other side of the stalemate, Arsenal is wasting a first-team spot with a nonfactor.

There was a time when Mathieu Flamini was essential to the team. He was the closest thing Arsenal really had to a defensive midfielder. While he lacked the physical presence, no one could say he wasn’t tenacious enough. Flamini backed down from no man and it often got him into trouble. He was a near-guarantee to pick up a yellow card on any given day.

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Since the turn of 2015, Mathieu Flamini has made two appearances – both in the FA Cup and both before March (via WhoScored). That is a bit disturbing. He was healthy the entire time and in that entire time, not once did Wenger find himself in a situation where he wanted to call on Flamini. That is 6 months worth of non-usage.

Reports had emerged in the transfer window that various Turkish and French sides had lined up bids for Flamini but no one could offer the wages that Arsenal had heaped on him. This is part of John Harton’s argument that Arsenal should not be signing guys just to pay them to sit on the bench. That is precisely where we are with Flamini – paying him to sit on the bench.

Offloading Flamini should have been a near-top priority and you could even make the argument that it would have led to a new acquisition. At the very least his spot could have been filled by someone more useful and more likely to play. Instead, we are left with the man who looks oddly resembles Keith Moon sitting on our bench for at least another half season.

Next: Wenger is a Player's Manager, not a Fan's Manager

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