Crystal Palace confirmed the signing of former Arsenal midfielder Mathieu Flamini on Thursday afternoon and whilst certain sections of social media have been quick to pour scorn on the move, it’s fair to suggest that the Frenchman’s love of a tackle will go down well with the Selhurst Park faithful.
After seeing former club captain Mile Jedinak depart SE25 for Aston Villa earlier this summer, Palace fans were left frustrated by the club’s failure to find a replacement on Deadline Day, but in Flamini, Alan Pardew and the board of directors have brought in a defensive midfielder with a wealth of top flight experience to fill the hole left by the mountainous Aussie’s move to the Midlands.
Never looked upon as one of Arsenal’s many gifted midfield technicians, Flamini’s game has always been one which relies heavily upon a willingness to work hard in the centre of the park, wearing his heart on his sleeve throughout. Having spent four years with the Gunners between 2004 and 2008, the Frenchman moved to AC Milan on a free transfer, going on to make 123 appearances for the Italian giants over five years before returning to Arsene Wenger and Arsenal in the summer of 2013.
At the age of 29, Flamini’s return to The Emirates was looked upon by some as a savvy move from Wenger, given the relative lack of obvious “leaders” within his squad at that time. Whilst many were quick to reference Mathieu’s limitations, there were plenty who regularly claimed that he was given too hard a time by large swathes of the North London outfit’s fan-base, based upon the specific reasons behind Wenger’s decision to bring him back into the fold.
As you can see from the video attached at the top of the page, Palace are getting a midfielder who loves to throw himself headfirst into challenges from the moment a game begins. Whilst he is renowned for picking up bookings on a frighteningly regular basis, his presence amongst the current crop of players from day-to-day should provide us with a genuine boost, given his maturity and obvious willingness to put his body on the line the for shirt each week.