"I wasn't playing enough and I was finding it hard getting my chance. I loved London but a footballer can only be truly happy when they are playing regularly so I went to the coach [Wenger] and told him that I wanted to go. He listened, took it in and then he said to me that he did not want me to go anywhere. He said he had confidence in me and that if I carried on working hard my chance would come. Looking back, he changed my mind because, until then, I was clear that I wanted to leave."
Flamini was so unsettled at the time that a family decision was taken for his uncle to ring L'Equipe to publicise his potential availability.
"That is true, but everything has worked out and it is in the past now," he says. "I am just happy that I listened to the coach and I decided to fight for my place. I'm playing every week now and that is all I ever wanted. We are top of the league, winning matches and playing well, and I am performing an important role in the team.