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Flamini seals switch to AC Milan

Mathieu Flamini
Flamini has been in impressive form for Arsenal this season

AC Milan have completed the signing of Mathieu Flamini from Arsenal on a four-year contract.

The France international, whose deal at the Emirates ran out this summer, has passed a medical and agreed terms to stay at the San Siro until 2012.

The departure will come as a blow to Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger, who had offered the 24-year-old a new deal.

Flamini had been a key player this season, making 39 starts in midfield and scoring three times.

While Milan vice-president Adriano Galliani moved to play down fan fears that Flamini had been signed to replace Gennaro Gattuso, the player himself expressed his delight at the move.

Having spent three seasons drifting in and out of the Arsenal starting team, Flamini secured a place in central midfield alongside Cesc Fabregas, keeping Gilberto Silva out the team.

He also made his breakthrough at international level, winning his first cap in a friendly against Morocco last November.

But for all Flamini's importance to Arsenal, highlighted by a superb performance as they won 2-0 in Milan in the Champions League, Wenger had been forced to concede that the player could be tempted elsewhere.

Flamini's move to Milan will not be the first time he has left a manager disappointed.

He was a key player for Marseille, playing in the 2004 Uefa Cup final, but left for Arsenal without a transfer fee changing hands as he had yet to sign a professional contract.

At the time of his move to north London, Marseille coach Jose Anigo said: "He's a traitor - this is a beautiful treason."


While Flamini will battle with Kaka, Andrea Pirlo, Gattuso and Massimo Ambrosini for a place in the Rossoneri's midfield, Wenger is left searching for a suitable replacement.

That search for midfield reinforcements could become even more pressing if Alexander Hleb follows Flamini to Italy, with Inter Milan being reportedly interested.

The Belarus international has reportedly questioned Arsenal's ambition and may decide to join Flamini in Italy.

Goalkeeper Jens Lehmann is definitely leaving the Gunners and revealed he was emotional when he waved farwell to the fans on Sunday after the match against Everton.

Lehmann, who came on as a substitute in Arsenal's 1-0 win, said: "I had one or two tears in my eyes at the end. The club and the supporters will always stay in my heart."

see also
Wenger slams Inter move for Hleb
26 Apr 08 |  Arsenal
Flamini sidelined by ankle injury
10 Apr 08 |  Premier League
Wenger confident on Flamini deal
21 Mar 08 |  Arsenal
Ronaldinho move to Milan in doubt
21 Apr 08 |  Football
Arsenal sign Flamini
22 Jul 04 |  Arsenal

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