After recently turning down a two-year contract at AC Milan, Mathieu Flamini has reiterated his desire to try and seal a return to the Premier League.
At the age of 29, he isn’t getting any younger and probably feels he has some unfinished business to complete in England’s top division.
With him being available on a free, I feel there will be some interest in not just England but also clubs across Europe.
I look at what Flamini could offer a new club and which Premier League teams might show an interest in the former French international.
Flamini is a hard working central midfielder often deployed as a defensive midfielder, due to his ability to break up the opponents attacking plays.
He has an industrial work rate and has good technical ability, so he can play nice short and long passes to get the ball from his defenders and get it forward quickly to the attacking talent.
His reading of the game is exceptional; this coupled with a tireless work rate makes him a suitable defensive midfielder.
After playing for two of the biggest clubs in European football, in the shape of Arsenal and AC Milan, he is a seasoned professional that would be perfect for most Premier League teams, outside the top four.
In terms of potential destinations I feel the first one to jump out would be West Ham. They have recently failed with an attempt to bring Massimo Ambrosini, another AC Milan player available on a free, so I’m sure there would be sum interest in approaching Flamini.
Sam Allardyce is trying to protect against the dreaded second season syndrome, as he wants his team to progress and not slide down the table.
His transfer coupled with the Andy Carroll deal, would show a signal of intent from the club as to where they see themselves going in the next few years.
He would offer more depth to the squad and remove the over reliance that West Ham placed on the shoulders of Mohammed Diame last season, as he was seen as the only recognised central defensive midfielder.
Flamini could release the burden and offer an industrial work ethic which would be appealing to Allardyce to help try and cement West Ham’s position as a top 10 team again this coming season.
Another option could be seen in the shape of Everton, who have in my opinion yet to replace club captain Phil Neville.
For most of his Everton career Neville was utilised as a central defensive midfielder and Flamini could be able to fill the void he has left.
Everton are the club with possibly higher aspirations than the other two aforementioned teams as they continue their quest to gain European football in the next few years.
Being on a free transfer is always a positive for the financially burdened club but his wage demands may be a more difficult obstacle to overcome.
In addition to this I’m unsure if Flamini would be a player Roberto Martinez would potentially see as his style of player.
However, Everton fans may argue that to play fluid football is great but you still need to have somebody to sit and hold, to protect against the counter and therefore Flamini could be the missing link in the Everton’s puzzle.
A final option could be Fulham, who last season had a disappointing campaign and Martin Jol is recruiting heavily to try and make sure his team finish in the top half this season.
After releasing Mahamadou Diarra and although they have replaced him with Ghanaian international Derek Boateng, I still feel the central midfield positions of Fulham could do with some improving.
Fulham who are a team not lacking in terms of attacking talent as they are a team containing the likes of Dimitar Berbatov, Damien Duff and Bryan Ruiz - but they need to bring a bit more steel into their team and Flamini fits the bill perfectly.
He would offer Fulham’s back four more protection and be able to sit and set off the attacking plays.
This will then allow the likes of Ruiz and Berbatov to play their natural game with devastating effect and help Fulham return to being a top 10 team next season.
Overall if I had to pick where I feel Flamini will end up, I’d have to say it would be one of the London clubs.
He originally played in this city with Arsenal, they are teams that have less financial burden upon their shoulders compared to Everton and could therefore offer the wages I think Flamini would be expecting to receive.
However, Everton’s aspirations to play in Europe could be a challenge which is more appealing to Flamini, as he has played in Europe for most of his career.
I fully expect to see him in the Premier League next season.
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