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.