Tottenham have £30m Lamela on the bench ... Arsenal have £0 Flamini

Contrasting inclusions on the North London benches this afternoon.

Tottenham Hotspur have the luxury of calling upon new record signing Erik Lamela for today’s North London Derby.

But while they showcase their new signing, Arsenal have one of their own … Mathieu Flamini is on the bench.

Of course I haven’t entered a time-warp - Arsenal have re-signed Mathieu Flamini on a three-year contract. The Frenchman left the Gunners in 2008 to join Italian side AC Milan - in what was quite a controversial swap at the time.

Flamini was an exceptional asset during his time at Arsenal between 2004 and 2008 - playing in the holding midfield role and several other positions, in particular full-back, with aplomb.

In that respect bringing him in is a good move - he knows the club and Wenger knows him. The presence of a player who can play in a number of positions admirably is something not many Premier League teams have, and is something Wenger is now ready to re-add to his … well … arsenal.

But this was never going to be a universally popular move - I mean, the return of a former player always throws up a few choice questions.

Why did he leave in the first place? Some are angered by the fact the club are giving a second chance to a player who let his contract run down in order to engineer a move to Serie A.

Plus his time with Milan has not been entirely successful. He went there to be used in the midfield regularly and at the time was a French international - since then his star has faded - He only featured twice in 2011-12 - you quickly realise Milan did not go to plan.

The general feeling of desperation comes in comparison to their North London rivals.

Tottenham Hotspur have Erik Lamela on the bench and Vlad Chiriches and Christian Eriksen also chomping at the bit to get involved after the international break.

But don’t knock Flamini yet, at least give him a chance to prove himself - he could prove to be the bargain of the season.

If he can stay fit.

Will you want to see Flamini play today?

image: © Ronnie Macdonald

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