Arsenal Transfer News: Signing Mathieu Flamini Wouldn't Take Gunners Forward

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistAugust 23, 2013

MILAN, ITALY - MAY 05:  Mathieu Flamini of AC Milan in action during the Serie A match between AC Milan and Torino FC at San Siro Stadium on May 5, 2013 in Milan, Italy.  (Photo by Valerio Pennicino/Getty Images)
Valerio Pennicino/Getty Images

Fear not, Gooners. Your knight in shining armour has arrived. Wait, no, that's just Mathieu Flamini.

In what is becoming a bit of a habit for Arsene Wenger, Arsenal are poised to welcome back a recently departed player who's past his prime. What started with Sol Campbell, Thierry Henry and Jens Lehmann might continue with Flamini's return to The Emirates.

The BBC's David Ornstein reported the Gunners are looking to sign the French midfielder, who's currently a free agent.

After just two matches, injuries have already done a number on Arsenal, making it clear just how much reinforcements are needed.

As a result, Ornstein quoted Wenger as saying, "The transfer market really starts now, a lot of activity will happen between now and 2 September. We have 12 days, a lot will happen. It starts now."

It's a bit of a change from Wenger. A week or so ago, he intimated that Arsenal wouldn't be rushed into making any signings and he was perfectly happy with what the club has, according to the Daily Mail's Laurie Whitwell.

If Wenger's only goal in the transfer market is to find players who strengthen Arsenal, it's hard to see where he's coming from by bringing in Flamini. The 29-year-old is not the kind of star who's going to make Arsenal much better than they are now.

Aaron Ramsey and Jack Wilshere offer the kind of creative and attacking options Arsenal need from first-team central midfielders. It's not as if Flamini is such a prodigious talent that he is a significant upgrade at the position.

ESPN's James Dall was blunt on Twitter.

Iain Macintosh noted that the club had finally found a replacement for Flamini after he left in 2008.

This move is not without its positives. The former AC Milan player will be a good squad player and provide some nice cover for Ramsey and Wilshere. That shouldn't be the aim for what Arsenal are doing this summer, though.

Too many summers have transpired without big-name reinforcements coming in to replace the likes of Samir Nasri, Cesc Fabregas, Alex Song and Robin van Persie.

Gooners need to be comforted right now. They need to see the club making the kind of transfers that will make them title contenders again. Otherwise, fans will just be spending an exorbitant amount for season tickets to watch rivals like Tottenham Hotspur and Chelsea distance themselves from the Gunners.

Rather than Luiz Gustavo, Luis Suarez or Gonzalo Higuain, Arsenal's opening salvo of the summer is possibly Flamini, who'd be coming back after five so-so seasons in Milan.

Football finance blog The Swiss Ramble crunched the numbers and figured Arsenal had £154 million in cash after the 2011/12 season, more than twice that of Manchester United, who were second with £71 million. Also, the other 19 EPL clubs had a combined £181 million in cash.

The idea that Arsenal lack the financial clout to bring in top players doesn't wash anymore. Sure, they can't keep up with Chelsea or Manchester City, but that doesn't mean the Gunners can't snag at least two very good players in a transfer window.

Yes, Wenger could still go out and add a centre-back, defensive midfielder or striker. The problem is that he's waited so long, the market is a bit bare. The best options have already been taken.

Whoever is left out there will come at a premium because other clubs know just how desperate Arsenal have gotten. As a result, those clubs will jack up the transfer fee on the Gunners.

This deal symbolizes largely what Wenger has done during the summer. Occasionally he brings in quality players like Laurent Koscielny, Santi Cazorla and Olivier Giroud. But for the most part, he waits until late in the summer and makes a bunch of panic buys, if he makes any buys at all.

If all Arsenal needed to do this summer was add cover in midfield, then Flamini would earn an "A" on the Gunners' transfer report card. However, this would be the equivalent to putting a Band-Aid on a gunshot wound and thinking everything is going to be OK.


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