Arsene Wenger has revealed he was reluctant to re-sign Mathieu Flamini after the way he left the club back in 2008.

The Frenchman quit to join AC Milan despite being offered a new deal by the Gunners and Wenger admits this weighed on his mind when it came to bringing back the 29-year-old.

‘First of all I believe that he realised what he had here’ Wenger told the Arsenal official website.

‘When you’re very young it is difficult to understand what he had at Arsenal.

‘I must say I was reluctant to sign him again but he was so honest in his statement that he wants to play the kind of football we play that he wants to help us to win. He convinced me through his attitude and his desire in training that he will be the right signing for us.

‘It was his attitude. He could have gone somewhere else. He had offers but he wanted to put it right with this club and I think he felt somewhere that he had something to bring to the piece here. He was determined to do that.’

The midfielder has impressed in the two games he’s played since his return and Wenger is convinced he can prove to be a vital cog in Arsenal’s quest to end their trophy drought.

‘Flamini is absolutely crucial to the balance of the team’ he added.