With the progression of Alex Song as a natural attacking playmaker, Arsenal have been heavily linked with 21 year old, French superstar, Yann M’Vila of Rennes, who is dubbed as the best defensive midfielder for the future – however, Rennes have slapped a £20 million price tag on him and while Wenger seems to have changed his transfer policy, a deal in the summer doesn’t exactly look possible especially seeing as Wenger’s most expensive defensive midfielder purchase in Gilberto Silva was for a mere bargain £4.5 million. Having said that, Wenger does have a much cheaper alternative he can look to; in fact, he wouldn’t cost him a dime - 28 year old former Arsenal player, Mathieu Flamini.
The talented Frenchman who spent 4 years at Arsenal had left the Gunners on a bosman transfer to AC Milan in 2008, rejecting a new deal at Arsenal. Arsene Wenger along with a number of fans were disappointed as Flamini, 24 years old at the time, had a breakthrough season at Arsenal in 2007/2008, keeping Gilberto Silva away from the first eleven and forming a formidable midfield partnership with Cesc Fabregas.
Many thought the move was money-minded but Flamini, being half-Italian couldn’t reject the chance to play for his boyhood club and some say, he was to be sold before his breakthrough season, so it may have been a case of bad management which caused him to leave too. But having said that, Flamini maintains that he left Arsenal on good terms and still loves the club.
Flamini, who had his best year at Milan last season playing a key role in helping the Rossoneri win their first Serie A title in 6 years, has missed the majority of this season through an anterior cruciate ligament injury in his right knee – however, as of now he’s fit but it doesn’t look like he’s in manager, Massimiliano Allegri’s plans especially with the performances of Antonio Nocerino.
As his contract expires this summer, Wenger could look to the former Marseille man as an alternative to M’Vila and why not? He’ll be free, he still has the best of 4-5 years ahead of him, he’s accustomed to Arsenal’s style of play, can also play at left back or right back, is experienced both in the Premier League as well as Champions League and he’s only focused on the defensive side of his game, as many Arsenal fans witnessed in the 2007/2008 season. Flamini could also be a great mentor to the inexperienced but talented duo of Emmanuel Frimpong and Francis Coquelin.
If Arsenal’s interest for M’Vila is genuine, then they should very much go for the French international – but if Wenger can’t agree to his price tag, he should look to Flamini who would be a brilliant and free alternative.