Judging Mathieu Flamini's career since leaving Arsenal is a matter of perception.
Walking away on a free in 2008 he left a club who were on a downwards spiral, who have not won a trophy in the five years since his departure, and three years beforehand.
He has spent five seasons at one of Europe's giants, AC Milan, winning Serie A once, and when he looks back on his career and medal collection, he will at least be able to show that one off to his grandkids.
But has he gone onto establish himself as one of France's and Europe's top midfielders?
The answer simply is no, he has not, he has not even come close. His career has been stunted by a serious knee injury, but he renegotiated an extension and wage reduction last season when his contract expired, and has bounced back well this season.
However he was one of many Milan players found wanting in the 4-0 defeat at the Nou Camp last month, and he is expected to be shown the door when his contract expires in May.
Reports in Italy are now claiming the midfielder will return to the Premier League - although not to the Emirates.
Instead his destination could be Villa Park or St Marys's with Aston Villa and Southampton the two clubs credited with an interest in the Frenchman.
Flamini is now 29-years-old and will feel he has plenty to offer and a point to prove, but how he would feel about taking a 'step down' from Milan to join a mid-table Premier League side is something he would have to acclimatise to.
He may not have much of a choice, as it is unlikely he would get a big move to another of Europe's top clubs. It would be interesting to see him back in the Premier League, and he has the experience to make him and even better player than when he was last in England.
Whether he has the fitness is another issue, but on a free transfer he would be worth the gamble for either Villa or Southampton, two sides full of talented young players who could do with an older head to lend a hand.
Would you like to see Flamini at your club on a free?
image: © Ronnie Macdonald