The departure of Flamini to AC Milan eariler this summer was undoubtedly a blow for Arsenal FC. Last season he went from being a squad player, to one of the most influential figures in midfield and forged an excellent partnership with Fabregas.
Now he has left the void has to be filled. Gooners were probably hoping Arsenal would sign a new defensive midfielder to partner Cesc, but that’s not likely now, Wenger seems to be focusing more on the wings, which were a problem area for us last season.
In the centre of we have the option of Gilberto or Diaby, and also Song, Denilson or even Ramsey. The best defensive candidates are Gilberto and Diaby.
Gilberto – already having played the role for a few years prior to Flamini’s emergence has the experience and quality. The problem is he looked poor last season when he did get a few chances to impress, and his passing is always up to scratch. He plays a diffferent game to that of Flamini, tending to hold back, whereas Flamini is always in the oppositions faces.
Gilberto would be a sensible choice to start with as a defensive midfielder, but I don’t think he is good enough anymore to warrant a staring place.
Abou Diaby is my choice. He is a strong and fast player, with a lot of height. We used him on the wing last season, and he got a few goals. The main problem with him is that he is inconsistent – and can be lazy.
Diaby has great qualities for the role though, he is defensive, but very good going forward – his pace, passing and ball control mean that he would be a great partner for Cesc, and he is a long term option.
If he can up his work rate and consistency then he could have a chance, I would love to see Wenger try him out next season.
There are other contenders – Denilson, I think isn’t ready for that sort of role. Ramsey – more suited to the wings, and Song – Wenger thinks that he will better used in defence.
So we start the season with a first team spot up for grabs, we just need to see who takes it.
What do you think – is there anyone I’ve missed – or do you think we should be signing a new central midfielder?