Diaby set for full training return


Arsene Wenger is expecting Abou Diaby to return to training today as he looks to make a first team appearance before the end of the season.

The 27-year-old midfielder hasn’t played in over a year after suffering cruciate knee ligament damage but remains determined to turn the head of French national team manager Didier Deschamps in the hope of sealing a place in his World Cup squad.

Two weeks ago Diaby was quoted as telling L’Equipe, “I’ve never given up hope of going to the World Cup. Thinking of that has kept me going. Once I’m back on pitch, everything’s possible.”

Asked on Friday whether the former-Auxerre man could help the Gunners in the last weeks of the season, Wenger said he was hoping for a ‘surprise’ but not putting any pressure on his charge.

“Diaby is coming back now. He had a preparation in France, where he had his rehab, and will be back to full training on April 1.

“Let’s not forget he has not played for a year. I cannot predict now how much time it will take him to be competitive.

“I cannot plan for him to play a role now in the coming games, but maybe I will have a good surprise when I see him.”

Amazingly, since the start of the 2010/11 season Diaby has made only 40 appearances for Arsenal (nine of those off the bench) but he does have one-year left on his contract to try and revive a career which has been wrecked thus far by injuries. Good luck to him on his latest comeback.


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      • Not many would be willing to buy, but i don’t think his next contract will be a big one, we’re not stupid but I can see us keeping him if there’s still a glimmer of hope as he could be so good; plus, how bad would the moaning be if he went somewhere else and was able to fulfill his potential?

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        • I hear what you are saying and when fit he’s a great footballer in the Vieira / Toure mould but 40 games in four seasons tells it’s own story. If we can sell him I personally think a couple of million in the bank and freeing up his wages is better than taking the gamble on his fitness.
          If we weren’t constantly plagued with injuries to our attacking players then it might be worth taking a punt.
          The investigation into our injury problems really does need to take place sooner rather than later, but for so many injuries we would be league champions this season.

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        • totally agree with you. i would even add that’s we should extend his contract ! yes cause but i do feel like he could do the same as that Dutch guy who spent nearly 7 years injured! One good or great season and he is free and can go somewhere else who have better medical staff and fulffill his potential.. and the joke will be on us once again.

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    • He’ll certainly need a few more weeks, they all do and three weeks becomes three months and sadly with him it’s been at least three seasons.

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  1. I’d heard a couple of days ago that this was in the offing. Bloody great news, if you ask me. When he’s fit Diaby’s a beast, a real Vieira type of player. I hope we get him back for a couple of matches in the run-in.

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    • Good player and great to have him amazing back, I hope he stays fit, But Vieira? It’s amazing how players improve so much when they are injured

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      • Diaby doesn’t have the raw power and ferocity that Vieira had but in terms of technique, I always thought Diaby was actually even better.

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        • He’s much more of a flair/dribbling attacking player than Vieira was, but he would bring some much needed physicality to our midfield if he did return soon. He also brings the ability to carry the ball through the middle third, 50 60 yards, without breaking a sweat (something Arsene always talks about). Would have been a really great player for us.

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    • Agreed. Anyone who wishes him anything other than the best needs to have a long hard look at themselves. Fair enough discussing whether it makes sense giving him a contract, but I really hope he puts his injury woes behind him and gets back to doing what he does best: kicking John Terry into unconsciousness.

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  2. Would rather he said Ide never given up hope of getting back into the first team and helping my club win things this season. But that’s just me.

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    • Probably can only answer what you are asked. A French daily will probably ask him “How do you rate your chances for the World Cup (in the French team)?”

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      • The Daily Pillock. Morning Edition: In an exclusive interview with our intrepid reporter Arsene Wenger said, “Yes. Yes. No. Yes. Berwick Rangers. Yes. Yes. Yes. Perhaps. Yes. Yes. 3.1415927 approximately. Yes. I think so. No. Yes, he is a cunt. No. He’s a cunt too. Yes. Yes. He’ll be like a new signing. Yes. No. Maybe.” Arsenal fans are reported on pages 1, 4, 5, 15 and 36 as being furious and are said to be demanding “Wenger Out”.

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  3. The Double is still on!!!

    It’s rather ironic that for all our alleged deficiencies in strikers and defenders, over the past few weeks it’s really been our horrendous injuries in midfield that’s costed us.

    Diaby to rectify.

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    • Diaby never has been and never will be a defensive midfielder, so I don’t see how he rectifies our deficiencies

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      • He charges through the middle, leaves big strong defenders lying stunned in his wake, and scores goals with shots that carry the keeper into the net along with the ball.

        Well, I remember something like that.

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    • I’m expecting nothing from him. He’s coming back from another long lay off after an acl injury so I can imgaine he will need to play in at least a fraction of the games he’s missed before we see get back to top form ( if that’s anything like it was we will have to wait and see ) which at this stage of the season there just really isn’t time for so I can’t see playing much of a role this season.

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  4. No offence to the lad, but would rather hear some good news on the rest of our injured players. Have given up on Diaby now. Valuable place in the squad but never fit.

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  5. Fair play to Diaby, he’s clearly working hard to get back into first team action. If he resumes training now we could expect him back end of April, last game or two of the season and FA Cup final perhaps?

    You get the impression this is absolutely last chance saloon for him though, any more injuries after this and he won’t get a contract extension. I’d absolutely love to see him get a couple of solid years of football under him, at 27 he could have 5-6 years left if he stayed free of serious injuries..

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    • be good if he could pull a rosicky and look energetic in his late 30’s due to all the games he did not play in his 20’s

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  6. I’ve been waiting for this. Diaby to win us the title and the FA Cup. You heard it here. Diaaabbbbbyyyyy!

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  7. i love dibdabs, really hope he can play a part! worry is that he’ll rush his own return to try and attract attention for the world cup… fingers crossed.

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  8. one of my favorite players and for me on his day (liverpool) is the closest to viera ive seen in our team. and its not because of his height and skin complexion. can’t figure out the april fools side of things, but i hope he resurrects his career.

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  9. Hope Diaby do a Rosicky and be finally fit after seasons and seasons of injuries problem. Based on Rosicky’s unique calculation, Diaby is now only 25!

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    • Imagine that Diaby and Ramsey in the form he was until his injury as holding midfielders. Would fuck any team over.

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  10. Look I hope as much as anyone else here that he really is back fit and ready to tear up the Premiership, but the fact that it explicitly states that he is returning to the team on April 1 gives me pause. Seems a clever ploy to get this believable story picked up by the mainstream media so they end up with egg on their faces. A win-win if I ever saw one.

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  11. April fools or no April fools, what pisses me off is that Diaby has come out and said that he never gave up on going to the World Cup and THAT is what is keeping him going! WTF! Shouldn’t his drive be for Arsenal FC? They pay his wages, they are the ones who are supporting him through his numerous injuries!!

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    • Yes, but unlike the English the French seem too actually have a bit of passion and pride in playing for their own country, regardless of wages. Weird isn’t it?

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    • It was a French publication interviewing him, and they asked him a question directly about it. He’s not going to say ” um no. not interested. doesn’t sound like any fun at all” now, is he?

      He loves his club and has shown incredible personal strength and determination to not simply bag the whole thing. Just shit luck.

      Do I think we can bank on him before we see a healthy run of games? Of course not. But I don’t doubt his dedication to the club, and I would love nothing more than to see him beat this curse.

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    • You may be new to this football lark. As an Arsenal player he has only one way to make it into the French National team, and that is to play excellent football for Arsenal. You don’t really need him to say it in order to understand that do you?

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  12. It’s unbelievable that Diaby is back in training before Ramsey. You didn’t think that when he walked off on boxing day and it was said that he would miss around 1 month.

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    • Sod Carlsberg, he’s obviously been put on a course of Heineken. It’s finally refreshed the parts other treatment cannot reach.

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  13. Fucking hell guys. Give the guy a chance. It’s not his fault I’m useless. He’s been workin hard to make his comeback the least we can do is support the lad. COYG!!!

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      • No no no he’s definitely not going to stay healthy ever, this is a complete waste of time. He will never be the great footballer he is when healthy for longer than 30 minutes. He should retire now.

        *reverse jinx powers activate!!!!!*

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    • surely it depends on the question?

      “Could he make a difference in the last 10 to 15 minutes of the odd game between now and the end of the season?” maybe.

      “Could he do a Christopher Wreh, and pop up with the odd vital goal?” maybe.

      “Would the rest of the team be relieved to see extra fresh legs being available in a key role to help rotate and rest?” probably.

      I reckon he would be delighted just to be stepping on to the pitch again and anyone that we can get back playing for us in the run-in to may will be a great addition.

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  14. Diaby and Walcott should be considered as luxuries as opposed to first team players. On their day they would both be considered first team assets, but as we all know they are not good for more than 20 games a season. We should plan our squad without them, treat them as luxuries for the times that they are available and then god forbid they stay fit they provide competition to the first choice players. For too long have we been reliant on players whose fitness simply cannot be relied upon. Wenger needs to recognise this and plan the squad accordingly.

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    • Just to build upon this point. He signed Diaby for a reason. We have lacked a dynamic midfielder for a number of years. We had Diaby and Alex Song to play this role, and we sold Song and have been without Diaby for much of his stay. We have lacked a dynamic player of this nature for a good time now. Instead we have arteta who plays more of an Alonso role as opposed to a box to box dynamo who can not just defend but can also stretch defences (in the yaya toure / vieira / ramires mould) Ramsey has begun to develop into this type of player, but again we are relying on someone who has had their fair share of injury problems. We have signed Flamini who I love, but he is not this type of player. As far as our midfield options go we are pretty one dimensional, and injuries to key players have only exacerbated this. We need other options and we cannot keep playing roulette with the unreliable options that are available to us at the beginning of each season. Season after season this approach has failed us. We need genuine alternatives – which when fit is exactly what the likes of diaby and walcott give us. There is not enough diversity in the squad and this is where we have been found wanting. No pace, no cutting edge, no alternative options. Teams know how to set up against us because we have nothing new to throw at them. We are one dimensional because our ability to change and adapt is restricted to options that are only available to us 50% of the time max. The options we do have give us nothing different. Most players in our squad are minor variations of each other, they do not change our team greatly when introduced – this is where we lack when compared to other squads.

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      • With such a weak squad, it is a wonder how we have lost only 6 out of 32 league games compared to the mighty squads of Chelsea and Liverpool who have lost 5. Man City have also lost 5 but have played two games less. All three of those squads are out of the FA Cup, one knocked out by us.
        As to Walcott, his appearances are: 2009/10 30; 2010/11 38; 2011/12 46 and 2012/13 43.

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        • Ahem, I stand corrected. Perhaps it is more the impact it has on our playing approach when he is missing that makes it seem like he is out for longer than he actually is. No replacement options when he is gone. NONE.
          Frankly I am amazed at those statistics, but I feel they are also a little misleading. In addition to each injury period there is a 3 or 4 game “bedding in” period where he is still regaining his level. With Theo we seem to get six games, injury, 3 games to regain fitness, 6 games, injury, 3 games to regain fitness. So yes, he has made a reasonable number of appearances – but there has been so many breaks in his progress you can only really say he has had one uninterrupted season. Whatever the statistics say I think you’d struggle to find an Arsenal fan who was not concerned by his ongoing fitness problems, and our lack of cover for when he is missing has been exposed dreadfully this year.

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        • Based upon an average calendar of 58 games a season (perhaps high, but Hazard played 62 last season.) Theo’s 281 appearances since the 2006/7 season (his first full season) represents a play rate of 60%. I suppose this is not bad, but I still find it concerning that we rely so heavily on someone who is statistically speaking unreliable.

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        • I really don’t think our Midfield lacks depth.

          Theo, Ox, Gnabry, Ramsey, Wilshere, Ozil, Rosicky, Flamini, Arteta, Diaby, Podolski, Cazorla.

          12 players for 5 positions is fine. And not one of them is really sub-par quality wise.

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        • We don’t have enough wide players and we don’t have enough pace. I agree we have numbers but we don’t have options. To my assessment we do not have a single winger at the club. Theo could fall into this bracket but he is not capable of taking on a defender and beating them. We have an oversupply of cute attacking midfielders and an under-supply of game stretching wide players. We have an abundance of central midfielders who are supplying a striker who prefers to feed off balls into the box from wide positions. We don’t have midfielders who like to play in wide positions. My beef is not with theo or any other member of the squad. My beef is with the lack of alternative options in the squad. It is play one way or, erm, try and play the same way using slightly different players. With walcott we are a different force, without him we are very predictable and very beatable (no matter what combination of central midfielders AW packs into the five positions.) We simply have nothing to intimidate defences without Theo’s pace, and this needs to be addressed.

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        • I think you mean to say we do not have guys who can run beyond OG for him to flick it on.

          First half the season, Walcott was out, Ramsey did the running.

          2nd half of the season, both of them are out. We have Podolski, but I get it, it is not quite the same.

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        • My point is this: Joes points out above that the squads of chelsea, city etc have lost five games, one less than us. With more options we would have won the league this season. Period.
          We lost two players and have nothing to replace them. Joeos conveniently leaves out Walcott’s statistics for his first 4 seasons where he played 16, 20, 24 games etc. He is injury prone, there are no two ways about it. If we had other options to get beyond Giroud as you point out, then we could still be an attacking force. Without Ramsey and Walcott we have very little going forward and without them we have been unable to sustain a title charge. Our lack of options has cost us the title, there are no two ways about it.

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  15. Diaby has had far too much bad luck, he deserves a bit of good luck for a change. I am wishing him a speedy and successful recovery from injury. When fit he has showed that he is a quality player.
    I can understand why some fans feel frustrated, as he has taken up a place in the squad and earned quite a bit of money without contributing too much. However, he always been dignified and put a brave face on his situation whereas in contrast someone like TGSTEL acts like an embarrassing prick.

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    • As an employer Arsenal are pretty much expected to look after their employees that get injured at work. Not only do they have a duty and legal requirement to treat Diaby fairly, but they also have insurance that helps to offset the cost of his injury. It’s not like they are taking money from the fan’s pockets to fund a “project” on the off-chance it might turn out OK. We signed him to a contract, we have to keep him. That’s the bottom line. Whining about it, as some are doing here is both futile and shallow.

      We want him back fit because we have seen him play extremely well for us, and because Arsene Wenger believes in him, but even that wasn’t the case we would still have to abide by the rules and stick by him.

      People complaining about him taking up a slot in our squad come across like 12 year old spoilt-brat girls demanding their daddy drown the kitten because they want a pony instead.

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  16. Its the same old April fool joke with Diaby every year, but glad to seem him back, and may this time we see a lot more of him. he is a good player.

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  17. Squad fodder for next season. Good back-up for the imposing, athletic centre mid that we must sign in the next window.

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  18. Ramsey got injured on both his own birthday and my birthday! Worst. Present. Ever.

    Diaby is a tank, hope he can stay fit! (Bit of déjà vu here…)

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  19. I remember reading that Wenger gambled on Diaby replacing Song at the start of last season, it seemed to be working out well until he got injured.

    Here’s to hoping Wenger can gamble successfully this time.

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  20. Yea, I can finally use this chant again….

    Whoa oh oh,
    Whoa oh oh,
    He came from Auxurre,
    Cos Vieria’s no longer here!
    Whoa oh oh.

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  21. I strongly believe that if he stayed healthy he’d be just as good or better than yaya toure. He’s just so damn good when he’s fit.
    Hope he can get in decent form for the final run in to help us win the fa cup and maybe even the league.

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  22. Good stuff. Can he actually stay fit though? I really hope for his sake that he can. He’s a nice option to have when he’s available so I have all my fingers crossed for him. He deserves some good fortune. I’m not expecting anything in terms of longevity but I’d be delighted to be surprised.

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  23. With one year left in his contract we are in a perfect situation to see what he can do in the coming months. When he’s fit (hardly ever, yeah) he is honestly pure class. If we let him go then I hope he does well wherever he goes. Perhaps the EPL isn’t the best place for him. I still want him to do well wearing red and white.

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  24. The fact that in his previous season long injuries he always comes back and plays an absolute blinder (liverpool at anfield start of last season) makes me like this guy. Feel it for him to be that injury prone because some cunt orc broke your ankle.
    Imagine a fit Diaby with Ramsey…….
    For those who forgot a little taster.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D6khpoTY6oQ

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    • He did something in that video that you just don’t see Arsenal players do. Fifty-fifty ball, both players get a foot on it. He takes it away up the pitch. Usually the Arsenal player bounces like he hit a brick wall in that situation and watches the other guy run off with it. This business of winning the ball would be a fantastic improvement to our game.

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  25. We cant have afobe and diaby at the same time .. could easily , mistakenly be sent off for the other one’s foul.

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  26. I don’t get the Diaby love, I just don’t think he’s very good and can’t stay fit. He like Rosicky and Wilshere have all got exponentially better the longer they’ve been injured.

    Diaby, along with Rosicky have for me become the poster children for the last 9 years of failure under Wenger. At a time when our resources haven’t been at a level to compete, Wenger has kept these 2 who have played only a fraction of the games through injury, whilst selling the family silver like Fabregas, Nasri and Van Persie when the resources spent on Diaby’s and Rosicky’s wage’s could have been better allocated to make us more competitive.

    I’ve personally got sick of the sight of both of them.

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    • Hang on, what? You’re seriously saying you’re not enjoying Rosicky being in the team, in the form he’s in, right now?

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      • Yes, I think he’s shit, doesn’t score or create enough. I’m resentful towards the fact he’s stolen a living for the last 5 years whilst the club have sold vastly superior players like Fabregas, he’s been a complete disaster along with Diaby

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        • Rosicky doesn’t create enough?

          You don’t understand football.

          Rosicky is probably the best player in our team – he is the spark that ignites intent into our attacking play.

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  27. I’d have to agree with most comments. He appears to work incredibly hard to get back to match fitness and he always shows his quality on the pitch when he is well. I would take advantage of the year he has remaining to see if he can stay fit and help us out. Assuming that year goes well, extend his contract. I just feel watching him I can sense his intensity and spirit, for that alone I want to see him do well in a Arsenal uniform. Lets not forget, the skunk that shall not be named was quite injury prone…

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  28. Every season our hopes are raised and the dashed its the same old story, season in season out blah blah blah Diaby will do this can do that blah blah blah. A few weeks out here a season out there. I admire him trying so hard and showing such determination to get back but lets be honest he still making a good living and we need to move on.

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  29. Can’t remember the name of that then sunderland player who broke his ankles but its that injury that has spelt doom for his entire career

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  30. Seamus Coleman for Arteta.


    Kallstrom and Flamini holding the middle. Maybe another defender who can double up as CDM (some preferably tall and strong)

    Or even bring in someone long term in Maxim Gonalons.

    Very tempting.

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    • Kallstrom is just on loan until end of season. Unless the club make a permanent move he won’t be here next season.

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  31. Solomon Kalou will be a fantastic signing…just like Yann MVilla, Victor Wanyama, Chris Samba, some Serbian sounding striker we are linked to every window…look how successful they are now.

    Sure believe the trades. They never get it wrong.:)

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  32. Nothing to get excited about, whilst like everyone you got to feel sorry for his bad luck, he has been nothing but a financial drain on Arsenal. Is totally over hyped, he has had what, 1 or 2 great games for Arsenal over his career? Should of been released years ago.

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  33. Personally i think for his own good that he should consider a move to a more gentle league like Ligue 1. Perhaps then he could remain fit for an extended period of time and rejuvenate his career. Playing for the most injury exposed team in the toughest league around is not doing him any favours.

    However, i really think we miss a player like Diaby in our midfield.he could have been our Toure/Matic type player. I Said both in the summer and in January that we should look to sign Matic, as he is just the type of player we need, and he could take over Girouds defensive obligations allowing us to play Walcott or Podolski as a striker more frequently instead of Giroud, giving us more penetration and or clinical finishing up top without sacrificing defensive strenght. But alas, no matic in summer, and in January we loaned an injured spartak moscow surplus to requirements player instead whom have played 12 minutes for us so far..

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  34. Not to sound insensitive, but Rosicky has come back quite good, thanks in no small way to this same group of doctors/medical staff. I understand, however, that the number of players in the treatment table are relatively higher than in other clubs.

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