When Arsenal swooped for Sol Campbell in 2010 after he walked out of his Notts County contract, his arrival was met with mixed emotions—Gunners' fans wondered why the manager couldn’t go into the market to get a more decent central defender.
In fairness to the fans, Campbell was in his twilight years and had little left in the tank.
In his second stint with the club, he made 14 appearances and scored a goal against FC Porto. He then went to Newcastle for a short spell before finally hanging his boots.
Following a long-term shoulder injury to Lukasz Fabianski, another mysterious finger injury to Wojciech Szczesny and some shambolic performances from Manuel Almunia, Arsene Wenger again rolled back the years, this time to sign mad Jens Lehmann, and he was then the custodian between the sticks in Arsenal’s away victory against Blackpool.
Szczesny recovered afterwards and continued in goal until the end of the campaign.
A year after Lehmann finished his stint at the club, Arsenal required cover in attack when Gervinho departed to represent his nation in the 2012 AFCON.
With the boss clearly having no faith in panic-buy Park Chu-Young, and certainly not ready to splurge on a striker, the manager shocked the world when he managed to coax the King of Arsenal, Thierry Henry, to return for a second spell.
Henry relished the opportunity and solidified his immortal status with a peach of a finish against Sunderland, adding another goal to his long-standing goalscoring record at Arsenal.
The only player with the potential to break that record had already scored 132 goals at frantic pace, but Robin Van Persie and the little boy inside him departed for Arsenal’s eternal rivals.
Now, following the debacle against Aston Villa on the opening day of the season, the fans have again voiced their sheer frustration over the club’s inability to spend some cash.
There were reports of a failed bid for Newcastle’s Yohan Cabaye (via ESPN), but it seems as if Arsene Wenger has found that defensive midfielder he always wanted.
After keeping his fitness levels in check and training extensively with the Gunners, the Guardian—in common with many other sports columns—has reported that Arsenal are set to re-sign tenacious midfielder Mathieu Flamini as a free agent following his contract expiration with AC Milan, the team he left Arsenal to join in 2008.
The 29-year-old holding midfielder spent four years with Arsenal from 2004 to 2008, making a total of 153 appearances and scoring eight goals.
After arriving as a free agent from Marseille, he found himself on the fringes at Arsenal, but got an extended run of games, albeit in an unfamiliar left-back position, following injuries to Ashley Cole and Gael Clichy.
He rose to prominence in the 2007/08 campaign, where he forged a telepathic understanding with Cesc Fabregas in the heart of Arsenal’s midfield, with Tomas Rosicky and Aliaksandr Hleb providing width on the flanks.
After his amazing performances that season, Flamini ditched the Gunners for more money to join AC Milan, making 122 appearances in five seasons with the Italian side.
Despite the fact that he was synonymous with first-team action at Arsenal, Flamini failed to command a starting berth in Italy and even featured as a full-back more times than he expected.
Flamini’s potential return to Arsenal has been met with mixed emotions—some fans are very happy about his second coming while others have been unimpressed with the fact that the Gunners don’t seem to want to invest in quality talent out there.
Without further ado, here are the pros and cons of signing Mathieu Flamini, from my own perspective.