Arsenal fans are not the most forgiving bunch and as Emmanuel Adebayor has recently shown, they do not forget when a player disrespects the club they love. With this in mind, the recent involvement of Mathieu Flamini in the news will once again have hit a nerve with the Emirates faithful. As if the Frenchman wasn’t unpopular enough, the former Arsenal midfielder has been linked with a move back to England in the form of their North London rivals and City.
Flamini joined Arsenal in 2004 and was another example of Wenger’s ability to transform youngsters into key first team figures. Flamini was just 20 when he arrived in north London and after two seasons gaining experience as a utility player he was finally given a chance to cement a place and the first team, a chance that he took. In the 2007-08 season, Flamini formed a blossoming partnership with the ever improving Cesc Fabregas and the side came desperately close to winning the title. The Frenchman’s performances in the defensive midfield role kept the experienced Gilberto Silva out of the side and you could argue that Flamini contributed to the Brazilian eventually leaving the club.
The midfielder became a popular figure amongst Arsenal fans and his reputation was growing by the game. He looked set for a lengthy career in the heart of the Gunners midfield but towards the end of the season the romance was stopped. The Frenchman had opted against signing a new contract with the Gunners and instead agreed terms with the Italian giants A.C. Milan in a move that enraged the Emirates faithful. Gunners felt as though Flamini had only sought a move away from north London for financial gain and the fact that he signed for the Rossoneri in the only week that they sat in a Champions League spot suggested that he was only happy to leave if Milan were in Europe’s elite competition.
However, these things have a way of redeeming themselves and Arsenal fans will believe that justice was served as not only did Milan fail to qualify for the Champions League, but Flamini also struggled to hold down a first team place, often featuring in his unfavoured position of right back. Flamini will certainly be familiar with the phrase; ‘karma’s a bitch’.
A possible return to England then, will not go down well in the red half of north London. Joining Spurs would only increase the hatred of Flamini and Man City may not be the Frenchman’s best bet either. If there is one thing football that most Arsenal fans do not like, it is the influence of money. The club’s philosophy is based on total football and it is considered an honour to play for the side, the Gunners do not throw money at anyone to convince them to join. If Flamini is seeking any kind of retribution from Arsenal then he should stay away the Premier League. Despite the torrid time that their former midfielder received in Italy, Arsenal fans are still not ready to forgive the Frenchman and he is still revered by a considerable amount of Gunners. The news of a possible return to England will have rekindled memories of Flamini’s exit and you can bet most Arsenal fans would not want to see him return, especially in the colours proposed by the media.
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