Could Abou Diaby and Mathieu Flamini commit 'beautiful treason'?

Mathieu Flamini challenging Steven N'Zonzi

Abou Diaby and Mathieu Flamini are free to leave Arsenal on a free transfer at the end of the season.

Once described as a traitor after committing what former Olympique Marseille manager Jose Anigo described as "beautiful treason", Mathieu Flamini seems to oft attract negativity over the manner in which he leaves clubs.

He exited the Ligue 1 club to join Arsenal on a free transfer in 2004, yet left the Gunners under similar circumstances, attracting the wrath of the club's fan-base and irking the management for, once again, capitalising on a Bosman deal that allowed him to join AC Milan in 2008.

Last year he re-signed with the North Londoners but, once again, there was no transfer fee involved.

The Frenchman has been dubbed a mercenary, however, as this article points out, he actually perfectly demonstrates loyalty - despite looking like a hired gun.

Flamini's contract expires at the end of the upcoming season.

Considering he is yet to extend a contract as a professional despite representing four clubs and turning 30 earlier this year, what are the chances he goes against tradition and commits to another season with Arsene Wenger… or is he likelier to do a 'Bacary Sagna'? A player who rejected Arsenal's overtures to join another club; Manchester City.

Then there is the case of Abou Diaby, who has the potential to 'do a Robin van Persie'.

Arsenal - and Arsene Wenger particularly - stuck by the Dutchman for many injury-ravaged seasons.

Through the ankle injuries that cut his debut year short in 2004, all the way through to repeated ankle problems, knee injuries, hip complaints, metatarsal fractures, thigh muscle strains, torn ligaments and horse placenta treatments - van Persie never enjoyed a 'mostly' injury-free campaign.

That was, until, his last year with the club (2011-12) when he returned an elite-level 37 goals from 48 appearances.

The summer that followed caused Arsenal fans to go apoplectic over their star striker's decision to transfer away from the club, the employer who had stood by him and nursed him through injury problems, in order to join Manchester United.

Diaby is having a similar time although he has, admittedly, taken up more time in the physio's room, suffering constant problems with his legs (calf muscle strains, knee injuries, groin strains, medial ligament damage in his knee, hamstring problems and a plethora of ankle issues).

If the midfielder was able to stay fit enough to compete, though, and build up game-to-game momentum, he has, in the past, demonstrated Aaron Ramsey-type potential. 

Diaby has also had a relatively unscathed pre-season and will likely feature prominently in the season ahead. His fitness, it has been suggested, is a key reason why Wenger was not prepared to bow to Sami Khedira's exorbitant wage demands.

Should Diaby go on to have a stellar season - finally realising his potential - could he 'do a van Persie' and leave the club after they stuck by him for so long? What could make matters worse, is that, like Flamini, his contract expires at the end of the season meaning any exceptional form could alert admirers to a bargain.

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