EXCLUSIVE | By Arsenal correspondent Tony Hughes
Football Insider has learned that the French midfielder had been set to begin negotiations earlier this year on extending his deal but Arsene Wenger is now preparing to overhaul his central midfield this summer.
A major midfield anchorman signing is one of the manager’s priorities, while the emergence of Francis Coquelin has restricted Flamini’s match time in the second half of the season. Despite his injury, Mikel Arteta has agreed the terms of a one-year contract extension and Wenger also added teenager Krystian Bielik in January.
Flamini is increasingly surplus to requirements and Arsenal are now ready to sever their ties with the 31-year-old for the second time.
His current deal, which began in 2013, is a ‘two years plus one’ deal, which allows him to be granted a further 12 months beyond this summer if he plays in a stipulated number of matches this season.
Flamini has made 32 appearances for the Gunners in the current campaign, including 15 Premier League starts, but he has been a fringe player since Coquelin returned from a loan spell at Charlton Athletic in December to cement his place in Wenger’s team.
Arsenal are set to offer a Flamini a package for him to leave in the summer, or sell him to another club. Flamini spent four years with the Gunners from 2004-2008 before re-joining in 2013 after five years at AC Milan.
Wenger wants to sign a major central midfielder, with Southampton’s Morgan Schneiderlin and Sporting Lisbon’s William Carvalho among his targets.