Arsene Wenger: Mathieu Flamini missed what he had at Arsenal

Arsene Wenger believes Mathieu Flamini "missed" what he had at Arsenal after he left the club for AC Milan five years ago

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Arsene Wenger has revealed that Mathieu Flamini told him he found himself missing his time at Arsenal after he left the club back in 2008.

The 29-year-old returned to Emirates Stadium on a free transfer over the summer after he was released by AC Milan at the end of last season.

Flamini spent four seasons at Arsenal before his switch to Serie A five years ago – and Wenger believes the French midfielder ended up missing the club following his exit.

“This Mathieu Flamini is more experienced than the one we had nearly 10 years ago of course, and has a knowledge of what is needed at the top level,” Wenger told Arsenal’s website.

“But I also think he has a bigger love for the club now because he realises what he left behind when he left Arsenal. He has come back with a great desire.

“I must say I was a bit reluctant to sign him at first, because I didn’t like to sign the same players twice. But he convinced me with a frank and honest statement, wishing to play for Arsenal.

“He had other opportunities from clubs, but he said he missed what he had here. Even more than that his attitude in training convinced me to bring him back – his desire to work hard and to win.”

Wenger also admitted that he has been forced to go back on his policy of not re-signing players who have left the club in the past.

“It had always been my policy to never bring back players who had left, but I changed that a few years ago basically because I didn’t necessarily want to be stubborn,” he continued.

“I feel it’s important that once players leave here, they know it’s not that easy to change your mind and get another chance. It’s important the players know it’s not down to them if they come back or not.

“But in the end there is only one important thing, and that’s the best interest of Arsenal Football Club. So if you come to the conclusion that it’s the right signing to make, you have to do it.”

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