Of course Arsene Wenger will point out that it was him that signed the French midfielder Mathieu Flamini for Arsenal in the first place, back when he was a promising 20-year old just breaking through into the Marseille first team. And I’m sure that the prof will say that he was also in charge when we took Flamini back a couple of years ago and kept him at the club this summer.
But reading between the lines tells you that Wenger was happy to let the Frenchman go this summer and was not intending to bring him back in the first place. For me this is symptomatic of one of Wenger’s major problems; that he loves skilful and tricky players and does not appreciate those that do the dirty work.
If this was not true, would we really have had Mikel Arteta as our main defensive midfielder for years? I think Wenger has been very lucky with the emergence of Francis Coquelin but now the young Gunner has picked up an injury and we have a problem.
Who did the boss turn to? Arteta, and look how well that went. So while Flamini, in my opinion, is well aware of his somewhat shoddy reputation with his manager and with the football media in general, he does not share that opinion and is determined to do a good job as Coquelin’s replacement, as he explained in an Evening Standard report.
Flamini said, “The season is always very long so sometimes you have to accept being on the bench but sometimes you have the opportunity to prove you can still play in the Arsenal team.
“I have an opportunity to be back in the team and I will try to prove every game that I can be in the team.
“Can I play twice a week for three months? I think I can but now it is my job to prove it. Fitness is hard to maintain.
“For an athlete, if you don’t play every week, it’s not easy because the more games you have in your legs, the better you become.
“You gain in confidence, you become better physically, so the possibility to have game after game is obviously going to be good for me.”
Will Flamini prove Wenger wrong and be the player Arsenal need?