After being released by Arsenal at the end of last season, Frenchman Mathieu Flamini was offered a contract by another Premier League club in Crystal Palace. Alan Pardew realised that he needed to add some more experience and cover in the midfield and Flamini on a free was his option. Crystal Palace made some decent signings in the summer with some pretty shrewd deadline day moves to bolster their attack but they were a bit short in the midfield with Mile Jedinak making a move to the Championship to join Aston Villa.
Flamini has been a fan favourite at Arsenal all through his career. He was one of the key players for the club during his first spell from 2004 to 2008 leaving for Milan thereafter. After spending 5 years with Milan, he came back to Arsenal once again as he felt he had some unfinished business in the Premier league. Winning back to back F.A Cups and Community Shields made his second coming successful as he provided the cover in the midfield on a number of occasions for Arsene Wenger.
Having played extensively in the Premier League and also in the Serie A, there’s no doubt about the experience the Frenchman has. For a team like Crystal Palace, it will prove to be very significant. The key part with Flamini is also his leadership on the pitch. The midfielder is very vocal on the field and helps organising things with his instructions. He has got good leadership skills which will be a vital in the dressing room as well.
Jedinak was a real leader for the Eagles and was also one of the most important players for the club in recent seasons. The Australian was much underrated but he was one of the best defensive midfielders in the Premier League playing for the Eagles. It was a bit surprising that chose to leave Selhurst Park but in Flamini, Pardew will have somebody who can supplement the leadership qualities provided by his departing captain.
Flamini, at 32, still has a bit to offer and can be the ideal backup man for his new team. The Frenchman will not only get stuck in defensively but can also score the odd goals at crucial times (just like he did against Tottenham for Arsenal in the Football League Cup last season). Alan Pardew made it clear about why he chose to opt for Flamini, stating that he liked his winning mentality and desire.
Speaking about his new recruit the Crystal Palace manager said, “Whenever I watched Arsenal when Mathieu was in the side, he always gave them that winning mentality that will to get the team over the line. That mentality is what I want to add here. I bought him not just as a player but as a figurehead. He’ll be pushing the likes of Joe Ledley and Yohan Cabaye and I think he will push them very, very hard.”
Flamini will certainly not be playing every week but when called upon he can still do the job for his manager and the winning mentality which Pardew sees in him, can prove to be the difference between grabbing some points and losing them against oppositions this year in the Premier League.