10 Underwhelming Arsenal Signings Who Became Cult Heroes
10. Mathieu Flamini
The interesting point to note about Mathieu Flamini was that he was an underwhelming signing on two occasions - both at Highbury in 2004 and then at the Emirates upon his return to North London in 2013. Way to make a man feel welcome. In the summer of 2004, Arsenal were rated as one of the heavyweights of Europe, having just won the Premier League without having registered a single defeat, and were linked with some of the continent's finest talents. David Trezeguet, Petr Cech and Maniche certainly rolled off the tongue a lot easier for avid European football experts than a Marseille utility man who had registered but 14 league appearances the previous term. While he essentially became 'the next Edu' at Arsenal, assuming the role of utility player, without nailing down a starting berth during his first seasons, Flamini endeared himself to Gunners supporters through some vibrant and tenacious displays. Striking up a partnership with Cesc Fabregas in the 07/08 season, he finally announced himself to the Emirates as an integral component in the starting XI, playing 30 times before leaving for AC Milan on a free transfer at the end of the season. It's not that there wasn't a rapport between player and supporter, as the crowd warmed to the Frenchman, but by the time Arsene Wenger decided to coax him back on a free transfer six years after leaving, the man was 29 years old. With the deep-lying Arteta approaching the twilight of his career, Arsenal supporters might have hoped for the board to splash the cash for a top-quality defensive midfielder ala Sami Khedira, instead of reverting to the past. Once again, however, the combative midfielder has quelled these worries by playing 34 games in all competitions for the club, and by all accounts, looking composed, accomplished and classy.
Recent Journalism & New Media graduate. Insatiable thirst for all things football, and hopes to break into the field of sports journalism in the near future.
Have made a significantly insignificant playing career out of receiving several slaps around the head for not passing the ball.