We laughed, we poured scorn, we joked, we poked fun - we all did it, didn’t we? When Arsenal re-signed crocked midfielder Mathieu Flamini we all felt it was a pure and utter reminder of Arsenal’s continuing failings in the transfer market.
The fact they were bringing back a player who has barely played because of continuous knee injuries over the past couple of seasons, and who so acrimoniously turned his back on Arsenal to move to AC Milan in the first place was laughable.
But here we are, Arsenal are currently top of the league, and Flamini is receiving plaudits from London to Paris. The Renaissance Man, they are calling him.
Arsene Wenger obviously saw during Flamini’s keep-fit sessions at London Colney this summer that something had clicked back into place for the versatile midfielder, and I don’t mean his fluid knee.
He has been a sensation so far this term, with his dogged ability off the ball allied by his general knack for retrieving the holy grail of modern football, possession.
Is he the missing piece of a jigsaw puzzle Wenger started piecing together years ago, finally found underneath the coffee table and plonked in its rightful place, slap bang in the middle of the tangible conundrum?
One Arsenal player thinks so, another who has demonstrated his ultimate ability this term.
Olivier Giroud has been a second season kind of guy for the majority of his career, and this term with The Gunners is proving no different. But while he is happy with his own performances, it is the arrival and revival of Flamini he holds responsible for this inconceivable form.
Speaking in L’Equipe this Saturday morning Giroud stated that Flamini…
‘’… may be the player that Arsenal were missing.’’
His form is now hitting such heady heights that calls from the French press to have him don the famous Les Blues strip once again can no longer go unheeded by the national boss Didier Deschamps.
And such is his form for Arsenal this season, it would not be a surprise to see the 29-year-old play his first game for France in five years at some point this season.
How impressive has Mathieu Flamini been this term?
image: © wonker