Where is the Flamster now?

Mathieu Flamini’s emergence at the heart of the Arsenal midfield last season was a revelation. Previously used as a squad player, and with is contract not renewed at the beginning of 07/08 he was available on a Bosman last summer and AC Milan snapped him up.

Image courtesy of tpower1978

This dismayed many Arsenal fans, myself included, and this year, rightly or wrongly, Flamini’s absence has been blamed for some of our inconsistent results.

He did form a great partnership with Fabregas, but don’t forget we also lost Hleb, another key midfielder, to Barca, during the summer – and this has weakened our team further.

Some pundits and many Arsenal fans said he was a fool for leaving, and wouldn’t get games in an AC Milan team with the likes of Gattuso and Pirlo, and he would be playing lowly UEFA Cup  football to boot. I thought the same, and above all I was sad to see him leave Arsenal.

At AC Milan he has had ups and downs, but is starting to look like a real bargain.

Ancelotti, the manager under whom Henry had a miserable time at Juventus before joining Arsenal, is the Milan manager now, and at the beginning of the season he was looking to see if Mathieu Flamini could be pushed into a full-back role. This utility player label was the one he had tried to shake off at Arsenal, and it seemed like he was back to square one at the San Siro:

“I had also played this role a couple of times at Arsenal, but I discussed his matter with Arsene Wenger and told him my natural position is in midfield.”

Flamini has started to get more games in central midfield, after a stint where Gattuso was injured, and is becoming a regular, although he only came off the bench in the 88th minute against Roma at the weekend. He has played in 13 games this season and Milan are 3rd in Serie A, 9 points behind Mourinho’s Inter. Their UEFA Cup campaign is also going well, they face Bremen in the round of 32 in February.

So Flamini isn’t doing badly – he has put in some of his commited performances for Milan – but he has sacrificed Champions League football and a guaranteed first team place. Arsenal’s form has been inconsistent this year, we might not even finish 4th, so although I hate to say it, if Flamini can hold down a place at AC then the move might have benefitted him.

A note: Read Flamini’s stats for AC Milan this season here (i.e. games played etc.!)

Milan Want Flamini As Arsene Hits Out At Greed

Arsene said here:

“There is something in this team which is stronger than a few bucks here and there,

“What is really important is that this team says ‘lets go to the end of our potential together and not walk out for any simpler reason’ – and that is where I expect them to show strength, and care what they can achieve together.”

“We are not any more in a period where you get £100 more at another club and it decides your life.

“Flamini can earn more somewhere else that is for sure because it would be a free transfer – but how much is he ready to sacrifice to stay here?”

This really sums up what Arsenal mean to Arsene and what he wants to see from this group of players. Good players should not be dicated by money if they are already earning large sums.

They need to make decisions about the sort of team they want to play in – look at players like Anelka – he left Arsenal out of greed and has never really fulfilled his potential in terms of success.

The article also mentions Fabianski, and the effect that conceding 5 goals to Spurs had on him. It’s likely that he will start against Derby on Monday.

Meanwhile Ancelotti has confirmed AC Milan’s interest in Flamini:

“A player like him would be good in any team. Since he is expiring, if he wants to come to Milan for us it would be an excellent purchase.”

Mancini, boss of the other Milan club, Inter, has tried to play down his comments on Hleb (see this article), by saying:

“I have never made any declarations regarding Hleb or other players who are under contract with other clubs, for whom I have the utmost respect”

What a load of crap, Inter have gone about this in a very underhand way, first meeting in Milan, and then coming out to the press. Wenger was right to say he might report them to FIFA. As for AC, they can **** off as well.

Another player we are linked to, by Croatia coach Slaven Bilic, is Niko Kranjcar. He’s an impressive player and would work well for us if Hleb went out the door, he has proven his Premiership quality for Portsmouth already. Expect a prohibitive transfer fee though!

Oh and also, because Chelsea beat Man Utd at the Bridge yesterday, we still have a mathematical chance of winning the title. That is, If Man Utd and Chelsea both gain only one point each in the two remaining games!