Flamini exuberant over Arsenal reunion, but plans to join Marseille later
Arsenal midfielder Mathieu Flamini has revealed intentions of returning to his childhood club Marseille sometime down the road in the later part of his career. Flamini, who broke into the professional world as a footballer at Marseille, had been at the French club since he was six years old.
The 29-year-old center midfielder returned to Arsenal this summer as a free agent following a five-year spell at AC Milan. Back in 2004, Flamini became the center of a heated debate at Marseille when he snubbed a long term contract for the opportunity to play with Arsenal.
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger recently offered Flamini an opportunity to return with a three-year contract. The France international claims he was happy to accept the terms of the offer and is eager to bring out his best for both clubs in the future.
“You should never say never,” said Flamini. “I did my apprenticeship there. Of course it's the club of my heart. I've always stayed close to it, because I'm in contact with Jose Anigo, someone who knows me very well. But there's never been anything concrete in terms of a potential return up to now. Having said that, I've got some good years still ahead of me.”
Flamini believes Arsenal will be competing for top drawer silverware this season, especially after the addition of Mesut Ozil. Flamini, who picked up his second debut for Arsenal in a 1-0 derby victory over Tottenham Hotspur, insists his side is prepared to meet big challenges this season.
“Our ambitions are clear, as the arrival of Mesut Ozil has proved,” Flamini added. “To fight for the title and compete in the Champions League. We want to win trophies. The club has waited for them for too long," said the midfielder who helped Wenger claim the 2004-05 FA Cup, Arsenal's last piece of silverware to date.
“We have the means to compete for the title, even if we are outsiders, not favorites, like in 2007-08.That is my motivation. I want to write another beautiful story with Arsenal.”
Flamini further revealed that he jumped at the opportunity to return to Arsenal. The French midfielder said that he was exuberant to hear Wenger wanted him to play for him once again.
“Arsenal always held a very special place inside of me. I will never forget what the club and Arsene have done for me. It is why it was important for me to come back and give again to the club,” Flamini said.
“I will never forget the match against Tottenham which marked my return. After having spent four fantastic years here, I played for five years at AC Milan, but I had the feeling that I had never left, that I had never turned the page.
“I found the same staff, all the people around the club. Some players had also stayed. And, on the pitch, I had the feeling I was back in the time when I played here. Everything happened very naturally. I had the feeling of coming home.”