London - French
midfielder Mathieu Flamini has returned to Arsenal after being released
by AC Milan, the Premier League club announced on Thursday.
29-year-old central midfielder made 153 appearances for Arsenal between
2004 and 2008 before leaving for Milan, where he spent five seasons.
has been training with the Arsenal squad for the past month and Arsenal
manager Arsene Wenger said he was delighted to have Flamini back on
"We are very pleased Mathieu has agreed to rejoin us," Wenger told the Arsenal website, www.arsenal.com.
"He is a player of real quality, with a fantastic work rate and great mentality.
we know, Mathieu is a strong midfielder, but is also comfortable
playing in defence too. He is a very good addition to our squad."
return comes at an opportune moment, with Wenger currently deprived of
midfielders Abou Diaby, Mikel Arteta and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain due to
Wenger also revealed on Thursday that the club will be
without Lukas Podolski for up to 10 weeks after the German forward
damaged his hamstring in Tuesday's 2-0 win over Fenerbahce.
"It is bad news about Lukas Podolski as he will be out for eight to 10 weeks," Wenger told the Arsenal website.
hamstring is much more damaged than we thought at the start. It is very
disappointing and we have paid a very heavy price for that win. We have
to be patient now."
Podolski expressed his disappointment on
Twitter, writing: "As you surely know, my injury is worse than we had
expected. I'm sad but I'll do everything to come back soon. Thanks for
Midfielder Aaron Ramsey scored both goals against
Fenerbahce but came off in injury time with a groin problem, while Jack
Wilshere was the recipient of some robust challenges in the game's final
However, Wenger said that both players should be available for Sunday's north London derby against Tottenham Hotspur.
"The news is quite positive," he said. "They just had bumps and bruises. They will be involved."
Wenger revealed that Arteta and captain Thomas Vermaelen are still weeks away from full fitness.
is doing OK, but there are a few weeks to go with him," he said.
"Thomas Vermaelen could be back after the international break."
Given Arsenal's injury problems, Flamini could go straight into the squad for Sunday's meeting with Spurs.
Auxerre striker Yana Sanogo is the only other player to have arrived at
the Emirates Stadium during the close season, but Wenger says he
remains in the hunt for new players.
"When you think that we lost
three players of the stature of Arteta, Oxlade-Chamberlain and Podolski
for three months basically before the season really starts, it's very
hard to take," he said.
"We are in a position where you want some more players."