Arsene Wenger has backed Abou Diaby to rise like a phoenix from the flames by putting his injury nightmare behind him in a similar manner to Robin van Persie.
The French midfielder has, through no fault of his own, become the butt of many a joke on the terraces and in the media having developed a knack for being constantly 2-3 weeks away from fitness. However, despite his horrific fitness record, the boss still harbours hopes that the former-Auxerre man can come good for the Gunners
Signed in the same transfer January window as Theo Walcott and Emmanuel Adebayor, the 26-year-old has only managed 129 starts over the course of eight seasons but as Wenger admitted; he’s still central to Arsenal’s fluidity in the middle of the pitch.
“Abou Diaby, with the way we have structured the team, he is an important piece of the puzzle because he adds qualities that we need in the middle of the park,” Wenger told his weekly press conference.
“He has power and long strides, he’s the closest to Patrick Vieira in his style that we have seen for a long time.”
Asked about Diaby’s long-term viability, Wenger paid lip service to the injury travails which for so long inflicted our Judas ex-captain but now seem to have magically disappeared.
“I faced exactly the same questions with Van Persie and honestly I can’t tell you. For a while everybody thought Van Persie would never play a season but in the last years he played 54 to 55 games.
“They [players] can get over this cycle but you always have a little fear that another injury can come in[to play]. We had that for a long time with Van Persie and he suddenly got over it. I hope that Diaby will do the same.”
Having stated earlier in the week that he believes in the strength in depth of his squad (hmm…), Wenger underlined that one area of his roster that he would not be strengthening during the transfer window was midfield.
Dismissing a spurious link with Frank Lampard, he also highlighted that even without Mikel Arteta and Tomas Rosicky in his starting line-up against Swansea last night he still had young prospects on the bench including Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain who he foresess playing in a more central role in years to come.
“No [we won't try to sign Lampard]. We have a young midfield. Ramsey did not start against Swansea. Chamberlain did not start the game, when time goes on he will become a central midfielder as well. We have what we need in the middle of the park.”
Arseblog News is all for Diaby following RVP’s lead…you know, so long as it doesn’t eventually entail him becoming a backstabber / turncoat / quisling / betrayer / defector / deserter / quisling.*
(*Delete as you wish)