Mikel Arteta, Mathieu Flamini and Tomas Rosicky are all confirmed to be leaving Arsenal in the summer and Arsene Wenger acknowledged everything they have done for the club ahead of Aston Villa.
I’d say, with absolutely no proof to back me up, that when a player leaves a club, around one in three is genuinely missed. Saying this, in the case of Arteta, Rosicky and Flamini, it’s two out of three. I’m sure you don’t need me to tell you which two.
In typical classy Arsene style, the boss paid his respects to the three Arsenal players confirmed to be heading out the exit door this summer.
“Mikel Arteta is the captain of the club and has been a great leader,” said Wenger.
“Tomas Rosicky has been with us for 10 years and I think everybody loves him as well. Mathieu Flamini has been an extremely strong leader on the pitch and off the pitch. We lose three big personalities.
“All of these players will have to decide if they go on in their careers as a football player or a coach.
“I don’t know yet [if they will be involved against Aston Villa].
You do get the feeling that some are going more begrudgingly than others.
Flamini probably has some sort of nuclear bunker built under the training pitch at London Colney and, if we had continued paying his wages, I have no doubt that he would have hunkered down there forever.
Rosicky, I feel is ready to leave. Not because he doesn’t love Arsenal but he’s coming to the end of his career and most likely wants to go out playing regular football. That, and the fact we’re still trying to reattach his leg.
Arteta is a tricky one. I think if we offered him a role at the club coaching, he would take it in the blink of an eye, which is what breaks my heart if he does end up leaving for precisely that at Manchester City.