Crystal Palace have bolstered their midfield options outside of the transfer window with the signing of former Arsenal stalwart Mathieu Flamini. The experienced free agent has joined Alan Pardew's side on a short-term deal until the end of the 2016/17 season after being released alongside Mikel Arteta and Tomas Rosicky at the end of his Gunners contract in July.
"Crystal Palace is a very ambitious club with great players and I am looking forward to being part of that squad," Flamini, who appeared 24 times under Arsene Wenger last term, told the club's official website after the agreement was finally confirmed. "It is a very interesting challenge for me and I am very excited to be here. I have had chance to discuss the move here with Alan Pardew and he really helped me make my decision."
Flamini boasts a wealth of experience in English football, having made 246 appearances for Arsenal during two separate stints in north London that were separated by a five-year spell in Serie A with AC Milan.
His arrival was widely expected after Alan Pardew admitted on Tuesday (6 September) that he had deliberately left space for one more player in his 25-man Premier League squad and confirmed that the 32-year-old was certainly on his radar.
"I thought it was important to get another midfield player," the manager said. "His playing ability will help us but also his leadership qualities and his ability of how to win games in a passing style. I am delighted that we have secured a player of his stature."
Despite his advancing years and checkered injury record, Flamini will likely be considered at least something of a coup for Palace given that Milan, Roma and Olympiacos were all believed to be chasing his signature. Indeed, Pardew did initially express concern that his pursuit of the Frenchman, also noted for co-founding an innovative biochemical company with business partner Pasquale Granata back in 2008, may end in the same disappointment that followed Jack Wilshere's decision to reject a potential season-long loan move to Selhurst Park in order to join Bournemouth.
Flamini is the second former Arsenal player to be snapped up on a free transfer this week, with controversial striker Nicklas Bendtner signing a two-year deal with Championship club Nottingham Forest yesterday more than four months after having his contracted terminated by Wolfsburg.