WTTGT Writer: James Jay-Waller
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Was he simply one of those people in life we come to appreciate more once they have gone? No this isn’t a tragic love story, this is former Gunner Mathieu Flamini. Having spent all of for years in North London the Frenchman will undoubtedly divide opinions amongst Gooners, but did he depart just a little too early?
Signing from Ligue 1 outfit Marseille back in 2004, it would be fair to say that the French midfielder didn’t enjoy the best of times during his first two campaigns as he was often left out of Arsene’s squads and played out of position. Frustrated with his lack of first-team action and being chosen in defence, Mathieu came close to leaving the club in 2006 and it was only after a conversation with Arsene Wenger, that he decided to stick it out at the Emirates. This decision was ultimately the one which saw him come into contention for the defensive midfield role which Mathieu had been so longing to be given a chance in.
The 2007/08 season was undoubtedly the year which Arsenal fans will remember Flamini most fondly for as he quickly formed an incredible partnership with Spaniard Cesc Fabregas in the heart of the Arsenal midfield, and although the year ended trophy-less, the Frenchman was rightly regarded as the best defensive midfielder in the league. Whilst never being anything of a goalscorer, many will recall Flamini’s perfectly hit 30 yard strike against Newcastle United which has gone on to be voted the 49th greatest Arsenal goal ever by those at Arsenal.com. However despite finally forcing his way into the side after years of frustration, Mathieu was out of contract that summer and ultimately opted to leave for Italian giants AC Milan where he has gone on to win the Scudetto with the Rossoneri.
So while the manner of his departure will have left a bitter taste in the mouths of Arsenal fans, was this enough to concede Mathieu Flamini as a flop, or not? You decide….
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