There can be no surprise at the reaction of Arsenal fans at the signing of Mesut Ozil - a mix of sheer elation and shock greeted the arrival of the Gunners' shiny new German signing from Real Madrid.
While there is no doubting the impact of this move by the North London club - many column inches have been devoted to the catalytic effect Ozil will supposedly have on all aspects of the club - a result of this has been a tendency to ignore Arsenal's other summer dealings.
In fairness, Ozil-aside, Arsene Wenger's negotiation of the summer transfer window may be seen as a damp squib; to think that would however, do a great injustice to the talents of Mathieu Flamini. The man's return to the Emirates was as low-key as his departure to Milan five years earlier, yet his importance to Arsenal's season will soon transpire as the campaign wears on.
It is actually remarkable how many problems Flamini solves for Arsenal's squad, as his particular attributes are perfectly suited to the the team's needs. It was pointed out at the start of the summer that Arsenal needed a defensive midfielder, as well as cover in both central and wide defensive positions. Flamini, incredibly, solves personnel shortages in all three of these areas.
His primary position is in defensive midfield, a position normally occupied by the currently injured captain Mikel Arteta. Flamini's arrival lessens the blow of that injury, and takes the pressure off Jack Wilshere and Aaron Ramsey to fill an unfamiliar position. On Arteta's return, Flamini may well be relegated to the bench, but based on his performance in the North London derby, that situation may not be so clear cut.
Flamini pleasantly surprised the Arsenal faithful with his lion-hearted defensive display against Tottenham, showing 100 per cent commitment to the cause and a vocal presence often missed in this particular Arsenal side. Almost as soon as he came on for the injured Wilshere, Flamini was to be seen barking out orders and flying into Spurs players, much to the fans' delight.
Having established that Flamini provides great cover at defensive-mid, it's intriguing to observe how he also covers the full back and centre back positions. To clarify to those unfamiliar with the player, Flamini doesn't actually play centre back, however his countryman Bacary Sagna does.
Sagna's recent performances for Arsenal and France in the heart of defence have proved that he is more than adequate cover there, and Flamini's experience at right-back from AC Milan means that he can slot in there in place of Sagna if required to do so.
This means that Flamini can be used to cover for the injury of either of the club's central defenders (via Sagna) or right backs, effectively covering five players simultaneously. Add to that Mikel Arteta, and that's six players in total that Arsenal can afford to have out in Flamini's presence.
Arsene Wenger's capture of such an effective utility player, for free, is an absolute bargain and may yet prove to be the signing of the summer for the Gunners.
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