It’s official: Mathieu Flamini is an Arsenal player no more.
It was revealed earlier today that the Frenchman has passed his medical and signed a four-year deal with AC Milan worth around €5.6million per year. The Italians are of course able to pay Flamini such an extensive amount due to the fact that the Frenchman’s contract with Arsenal is up and he was able to make the move without incurring any sort of transfer fee under the Bosman rule.
AC Milan manager Carlo Ancelotti had this to say about the signing of Flamini:
“Flamini is a very good player – we saw this when he played against us in the UEFA Champions League. This is an excellent signing.”
He’s certainly not wrong there and I have to say that I feel very disappointed about Flamini leaving. He has always been a firm favourite of mine at the club – even during the time when he was nothing more than a bit-part player – and I feel he will be missed by Arsenal next season.
There will be many people who label Flamini a disloyal money-grabber (Fla-money?) for doing what he has done but at the end of the day Arsene Wenger took a risk in keeping him at the club without extending his contract and the Frenchman cannot really be blamed for taking this opportunity. Not only will he earn an exorbanent amount of money but he also gets to join one of the world’s most respectable football clubs and at the end of the day that’s quite a difficult proposition to turn down.
The thing that worries most about Flamini’s exit is that, unlike a lot of people, I see him as a player who has both the ability and desire to become the best in the world in his position. Many Arsenal supporters see him as nothing more than a hard-working grafter but in my opinion this season has seen him become far more competent on the ball as well excellent passer to boot. Add to that the fact that he is the first Arsenal player to really click with Cesc Fabregas and you have a man who will be more difficult to replace at the club than many people suspect.
Given the previous departure of Lassana Diarra and the fall from grace of Gilberto Silva, Arsene Wenger now faces quite a challenge to find an adequate substitute for Flamini. I should say that although I think Flamini will be incredibly difficult to replace I am not worried about Wenger’s ability to bring in someone worthy of doing just that. As I said in yesterday’s post there has been rumours about the manager’s interest Lille’s Jean Il Makoun while Aston Villa’s Gareth Barry will surely also be a target.
There’s really not too much point in speculating because the manager will probably do his usual thing and surprise the supporters with someone completely random stage. And before people start getting into a spin about making a huge signing can I just remind you that Bacary Sagna was a virtual unknown outside of France before the start of this season, while Abou Diaby and Alex Song are more than capable of doing the defensive job alongside Fabregas if required.
Regardless, I wish Flamini all the best in his time in Italy. He has always given 100% in his time at Arsenal and at the end of the day as a supporter that is all you can really ask for.
What do you think?
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