Arsenal have completed their second signing of the summer -- and still not a single penny has been spent on transfer fees. After the arrival of France Under-20 striker Yaya Sanogo, Mathieu Flamini has also now been brought in on a free transfer. The deal to bring back a player who left the Gunners for Milan in 2008 and has been training with Arsenal since exiting the Italian club at the end of last season is hardly one to excite fans that have become frustrated by the lack of spending in the transfer window. Arsene Wenger, though, believes the 29-year-old can offer much.
"We’re very pleased Mathieu has agreed to re-join us," he said in a statement on Arsenal’s website. "He is a player of real quality, with a fantastic work rate and great mentality. As we know, Mathieu is a strong midfielder, but is also is comfortable playing in defense too. He is a very good addition to our squad."
In the short term, Flamini is likely to provide cover for the injured Mikel Arteta. It remains to be seen, though, whether Arsenal will follow-up their bid for Newcastle’s Yohan Cabaye. The Gunners have had a bid of around £10 million rejected, with Newcastle claiming that they have told Arsenal their demands -- believed to be twice that figure.
Cabaye has been left out of Newcastle’s opening fixtures of the season as a result of Arsenal’s interest, but manager Alan Pardew is keen for the France international to play against Fulham on Saturday.
"What I have said to Yohan Cabaye is I expect him to play this weekend, he said, according to Sky Sports. “Until another bid comes in from Arsenal that is accepted or not that will be the situation.
“We need to get ourselves in a position where if he stays, great, and if he doesn't stay we need to get someone equally as good. It's difficult at the moment. We have big clubs filling our players with disharmony."
If Arsenal do not secure Cabaye, the Daily Mail has claimed that they will pursue St Etienne’s Joshua Guilavogui. The 22-year-old has spent his entire career with the Ligue 1 club and made his debut for France earlier this year.
Arsenal are also believed to be interested in Chelsea’s Juan Mata. The Spaniard was left on the bench for Chelsea’s game against Manchester United on Monday and further speculation about his future was fuelled by the player’s father being spotted at the Emirates for Arsenal’s clash with Fenerbahce the following night. Wenger was coy about whether Mata’s father was an invited guest of the club, but did not hide his admiration for the player. Jose Mourinho, however, has reiterated that the attacking midfielder will not be going anywhere.
“It was my option [to leave him out against Manchester United],” he said, according to Talksport. “I have always reason for the options. I feel it's my duty to explain to the players the reasons for my options - and I do. I don't feel it's my duty to explain to the media the reason for my options. I don't always do [it].
"Everything is clear between me and the player. We have no problems. I think he's a very important player for us. He wants to be a very important player for us. He wants to stay. I want him to stay, the club want him to stay. There is no story."
Wenger has yet to seemingly make any progress on his search for an experienced goalkeeper. A big name has been linked in the past few days, with the Gunners said to be monitoring the situation of Iker Casillas at Real Madrid. After his much discussed problems with Mourinho last season, the Bernabeu icon has been left out of the side for Madrid’s first two matches of this campaign by new manager Carlo Ancelotti.
It still appears highly unlikely that Casillas will not give it until at least January to assess his options. Yet, French publication Sport24 has claimed that Paris Saint-Germain have joined Arsenal and Manchester City in pursuit of the 32-year-old.