Flamini’s Departure Leaves Questions To Be Answered

So the worst kept secret in football is out and Mathieu Flamini has signed a four-year deal with AC Milan. I wish him well and thank him for the service he gave the club last season. His decision appears to be driven by money but with his family heritage coming from Italy, it might be too simplistic to put it purely down to that. Without wishing to seem nasty or to have sour grapes, I will be disappointed if he plays at Sunderland this weekend. His time at Arsenal is over and Arsene should continue to play those who will be at the club in the future.

Even if it had been a home fixture, I would have been dead against Flamini appearing in an Arsenal shirt again; there is no ‘fond farewell’ for services rendered – one excellent season does not warrant that and it is more important that planning ahead takes precedence. Indeed, with second place now out of sight, there is a strong case for Arsene to put youngsters into the squad and to exclude Flamini entirely. That might seem churlish but it is pragmatic. It is another match for someone to gain experience in, particularly as it is away from home against a team who will play with a more direct style.

It does seem a case of the biter bitten though and for Arsene it is depressingly familiar. Flamini joined with some rancour from Olympique Marseille and history is repeating itself, someone who has turned into a valuable player has left for peanuts or in this case, absolutely nothing. For Arsenal, it is another player who they have signed through contractual escapism leaving in similar circumstances; Sol Campbell tucked them up like kippers to join Portsmouth, having apparently indicated that he wanted to move abroad, given a ‘free’ to facilitate this. More disconcertingly, the hierarchy at the club have allowed someone who was important to go through running down their contract, in a similar fashion to Edu. The question is why have those lessons not been learnt?

No doubt, there will be calls that this would not have happened had David Dein still been at the club. Well, he was there when Edu left so that is no guarantee and in any case, one set of circumstances does not dictate that he should be welcomed back now especially considering he would be smuggling in a twenty-stone suitcase full of unwanted baggage. Indeed, Edu and Flamini are similar cases. Both had struggled to get into the midfield on a regular basis and once they had achieved their aim, they left through negligence on the Board and Arsene’s part.

The key issue for the club is that the long-term replacement for Keith Edelman must have football connections. It is no good using the ex-CEO of Birds Eye if the man cannot open doors; Arsenal have to decide if the Board is there to service the City or the football club. Whilst the property revenues are as important as the football-related revenue streams, the club will be around long after the flats and warehouses have been developed and sold. The gene pool might be smaller for them to choose from when selecting the new man or woman but it is the busiest time of the year in the transfer market and a repetition of last seasons timing for transfer deals hinders rather than helps. I would almost beg the Board and Arsene to get all deals done and dusted before the start of Euro2008 to get matters resolved.

Alexander Hleb seems to be the most likely target next for press speculation, followed no doubt by a summer of Spanish-based rumour about Cesc Fabregas. The Times this morning seeks to cast doubt on the Byelorussian’s future, printing unsubstantiated claims that Hleb ‘has confided in several of his team-mates that he is planning to join Inter Milan and his representatives are understood to have agreed a four-year deal with the Italian champions’.

According to the paper, ‘Hleb is understood to be frustrated by Arsenal’s failure to win silverware, as well as concerned that the club’s pay structure will prevent him earning what he could pick up elsewhere particularly given the policy of awarding only one-year extensions to players approaching 30.’

That last part is, as I understand it, incorrect with Arsene offering that type of deal to those over 30. However, as I mentioned the other day, it strikes me as curious that the club knowing the FIFA Article 17 and its contents have not moved to offer Hleb a new deal. Arsene’s reaction to the meeting in Milan in February suggested that he wanted the player to stay and his subsequent desire to report them to the highest powers in football indicate the same. This last part is a hollow threat and Inter know it.

Arsenal had the chance to report Real Madrid when they defaulted on part of the Anelka fee but chose not to; the same club tapped up Vieira and received no complaint other than in the media. Even Fabregas admits to meeting with Calderon last summer and nothing was done about that. If the Board are to do something, do it otherwise silence is golden would appear to be the better option.

‘til Tomorrow.

114 thoughts on “Flamini’s Departure Leaves Questions To Be Answered

  1. G4E,

    it is not a blame game, it is an honesty issue which does create the expectations. if we have no cash then it is what it is, if we do have the cash then why aren’t we spending it, on additional wages to keep players or buying quality players to strenghthen the squad. i think it is a perfectly reasonable question for supporters to ask. there does seem to be mixed messages coming from wenger and the board and as fans who pay such high prices we are entitled to know the truth.

  2. G4E,

    it is not a blame game, it is an honesty issue which does create the expectations. if we have no cash then it is what it is, if we do have the cash then why aren’t we spending it, on additional wages to keep players or buying quality players to strenghthen the squad. i think it is a perfectly reasonable question for supporters to ask. there does seem to be mixed messages coming from wenger and the board and as fans who pay such high prices we are entitled to know the truth.

  3. Why is it that we love the drama. Some players like money more than being a legend, or having their name in a club’s history book. I’m glad it is being mentioned Flamini was above average player and I think he will remain as such. Clichy is not above average, Cesc is not above average, Kolo is not above average, but they probably have one thing in common which is being mature enough to know it’s not all about money. How much money can you make? How much of it can you take with you to the grave? These players are making enough money at a very young age, that’s the chance Arsenal gives them. A player like Cesc knows he still has a long career and he can make money along the way.

    For me, the most important player to keep is Arsene Wenger himself, any body else can be replaced.

  4. Dan,

    I agree, they need to tell the truth not what we like to hear. If we don’t have the money then we need to shut up and go about our business as usual. If we have the money we need to know how it is used and for what exactly. No argument about that.

  5. Been a bit fed up of late and agree with Passenal seems a waste of time to try and reply to all the negativity around. It was so pleasing to see the following in Clock Enders I attach with pleasure. Hard to believe that if we win our last game and allowing that the Manure and Chelski win theirs we are only four repeat four points adrift with a much better goal difference than Chelski. When taken into account if the games against those two had been draws and not doggy wins for them at their grounds we would have won the EPL. Yet reading this blog we had a disaster of a season. Oh well the attached is up lifting. To all the Doom Mongers take a hike.

    Don’t believe the Hype – It’s great to be a GOONER
    6 May 2008
    Written by: Block19er Posted under Arsenal FC

    According to our friends in the media it’s all over, Wengers master class has ended, the players are all leaving, we have no chance of silverware. Erm, have we heard all that before? Yes, what 12 months ago, it really is silly season again. Flamini’s departure has stirred up a lot of stories, it is not like this move is a shock, same with Hleb, if he goes it’s not out of the blue. Personally I’ve had enough of Hleb now, he does not bring enough to the squad, I really hope we can offload him in the summer. If he does go it seems like either Krancjar or Arfa could be the replacement. To me I would prefer either of those to be in our team next season than Hleb, time to jog on Alex, take your moans elsewhere.

    Theo is looking forward to Vela coming into the squad and so am I. He looks like he’s been the Don in Spain and as back up for one of the aforementioned wing men he could be a real top addition to the squad. One things for sure he’ll score more than Hleb. He’s scored more goals in two years in Spain than Alex has got in three in England. I think Wenger will try and hang on to Gilberto but as always the offer will only be for one more season and if an irresistible offer comes along he will surely take it. With Merida coming back into the squad my worry is that Arsene will not buy a central midfielder. He will have Cesc, Denilson, Diaby, and Merida. Cesc won’t take part in pre-season because of the Euro’s so when the season kicks off it would probably see Denilson and Diaby as the first choice central pair. To me that won’t be good enough. I really hope we can add to the middle of the park now Flamster has gone. One thing is for sure Wenger will look, the worry is that he won’t turn the stone we need him to, Gattuso is a great shout, his experience would make the centre look strong. He’s my kind of player and he loves kickin’ lumps out of ManUre.

    According to The Telegraph the Flamini move will unsettle Arsenal, to me that is rubbish, someone who wasn’t even in the first team 8 months ago, I don’t think so. I could see it putting a question mark over a few of the younger lads come May if Milan with the Champions league in Rome with Flam’ in the team. Other than that he’ll just be another player who used to play for the best team in the World.

    I’d be more unsettled by the Manqs debt. Sure you can say they will win the European/League double but at what cost? Another loss of £58Mil. Taking their total debt to over £760Mil which is incredible. How will the club ever pay that back? Some will say as fans we don’t have to worry? Lets be serious guys, the fans will pay that debt back, their season tickets have increased at a dramatic rate, a guy I know has seen his season ticket price go from £650 to £950 in two seasons at Old Shittford. That’s now £100 more than my seat, if the costs go up then prices will only go up again, some fans will be pushed out. The interest payments they are paying are much higher than the cash they can generate, I’d much prefer Arsene keeps balancing the books. Think Chelski will lose two or three (Lampard, Dogba, ++) first teamers this season, ManUre are soon to lose their Keeper, Neville, Giggs, & Scholes. Who says with all the money in the World their replacements will be as good as us next season? How long will hte bank, yanks, and Russians bank roll them?

    Its important Gooners don’t get sucked into all this media shit, the realism of the situation is we’re 4 points from the title, two dodgy refs decisions from a European final, sure two players are on their way out but two young guns are on their way back in and we’ll sign at least two more first team players this summer. To me it’s great to be a Gooner and there’s no place better to be at the moment.

  6. I think a really first GK is a must we can manage, but a really good GK is what I hope the boss goes for. But at the end of the day the Gaffer will know what to do.

  7. Nice post OldTimer, but I won’t see the light of day before someone hits you with “Oh take off your rose tinted glasses” and “You’re living in dreamy la la land” or maybe “Arsene Worshipper” and who knows what else.

    That’s why I said, I wish I can just blink through the summer months, and not have to go along with this sh*t. I guess it’s true, we are dreaming…it isn’t gonna happen. Even if we win the title next season, someone is going to come out and say: Well, we didn’t score any goals with our arse facing the clock end, so the title doesn’t really count, and it’s all Wenger’s fault for letting Flamini slip through his fingers……..oh dear God.

  8. Gunner4Ever you are so right or I will be told I’m too old and don’t know what I’m talking about. Some people are never satisfied. But we will keep the faith and march on as all true gunner fans do.

  9. Thank you Flint, and to think we went to the same match as youngsters. Bloody old farts.

  10. Seriously OT,

    none of us really know what we are talking about because we don’t know the full facts & are never likely to.

    What I do know is that there are plenty on here, who don’t know a good thing when they see it, & would willingly sell the club down the river for some mystical guaranteed gratification.

  11. Flint you are correct, we dont know the facts but I think those with grey power have a better insight having been there and worn the T shirt. could not agree more with some of th attitudes and doubt in the coming years they will support the same team. Oh well once again youth wasted on the young.Bloody hate this walking frame.

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