Mathieu Flamini has expressed his delight at rejoining Arsenal, admitting that playing in Sunday’s north London derby victory was like returning home.
The 29-year-old spent the summer training with the Gunners following his release from AC Milan, eventually signing a contract with the club at which he had previously enjoyed four successful seasons.
The Frenchman was signed in time to make a substitute appearance in the 1-0 win over Tottenham, and says he has found it easy to slot back into life at the Emirates Stadium after five years away.
"I really have the sensation of being back home. Playing against Tottenham in a big derby, it was a great emotion, a great feeling,” he told the club's official website.
“Playing against Tottenham is never easy but it is special for the club, for the fans and for the players.
"Of course, for me it was my first game and I wanted to show everyone how committed I am to this club, how I am ready to give everything on the pitch. I hope everyone saw it; I really did my best when I came on.
“I have heard it a lot [that it is like I have never been away]. I feel like I never left.
"There are players I played with before, and even staff, there are a lot of people still here that I knew before and the [relationship] with the fans was just amazing. I just want to thank everyone for the nice atmosphere on Sunday. It was great.”
Flamini was Arsene Wenger’s second summer signing following fellow free transfer Yaya Sanogo’s arrival at the club, but has since been joined by on-loan goalkeeper Emiliano Viviano and €50 million man Mesut Ozil.
The midfielder has been impressed with the quality of his team-mates, and believes everything in place for the Gunners to enjoy a successful season.
“The quality is very high in this team and at this club,” he continued. “That is the most important thing, to have players of quality because that makes a difference.
“The team spirit is also very good, and we saw on Sunday that everyone was helping each other on the pitch. That makes a difference in the big games.”