Diaby is a player who is held in high regard by Arsenal fans, and everyone in world football, for his ability to dribble past opponents with ease with close ball control; who also contains an excellent first touch and is adept in both attack and defence. When fully fit, there is no doubt that Diaby is one of the best box to box midfielder’s in the Premier League, and this is why he is one of the first names on the team sheet for Arsenal and France. It is clear to see that when Diaby plays for Arsenal, he fills the physical void that was left when Song left Arsenal for Barcelona last summer, and he is the missing link in our midfield. It has been said that the reason Wenger let Song go to Barcelona was because he said he had a replacement in Diaby, but once again, injuries have gotten the better of Diaby this season.
Abou Diaby now faces a lay-off of up to nine months after tearing the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee in training, after it was initially reported that Diaby would be out for three to four weeks following a knock on his knee. Wenger has said that he was extremely surprised when he heard that Diaby would be out for up to nine months, as he thought it was just a little knock.
We all know how highly Wenger rates Diaby as a player (for his quality and ability) and as a man (for having the fight and desire to battle through his constant injuries), but now with the Frenchman facing up to nine months on the sideline, many Arsenal fans are wondering whether Wenger will lose his patience with him and sell, or more likely, release him (like Ferguson did with Hargreaves).
We do not exactly know Wenger’s views on Diaby injuries, as numerous times he has said that he has told Diaby, that he must not give up the fight and must not give up on his career. Wenger has said that Robin Van Persie also sorted out his injury problems, and he believes Diaby can do this too. However, Wenger has also said that Diaby may have to consider retirement and that very soon he is going to have to make a decision on whether to keep Diaby or to let him go.
Some Arsenal fans say “sell him, problem solved”. The problem with Diaby is that if he was to be put on the transfer list, Arsenal would receive offers so low (because of his extremely bad injury history) any money gained from selling Diaby would not be worth the sale, in comparison to the quality Diaby offers. This is assuming that any club will make an offer for Diaby. A lot of clubs would be turned off by his extensive injury history and therefore Diaby might not be able to find a club that is suitable for him.
In this case the only option Wenger would be left with, is to let him go on a free when his contract expires in 2015, hoping that Diaby will be able to find a club that is suitable for himself, as clubs would now not be put off by having to pay a transfer fee. The problem then is which club would be willing to pay the weekly wages of Diaby.
This was the problem which injury prone Hargreaves faced when he was released by Ferguson, with Hargreaves struggling to find any clubs that would pay his weekly wage. Hargreaves finally found a suitor in Manchester City (after releasing a video on youtube showing his fitness levels), but he was not paid a weekly wage but a ‘pay as you play’ deal. All did not end well with Hargreaves, with him only playing in one league match, in which he scored one goal. He then did not receive a winners medal when Manchester City won the league, because he was not eligible to receive one as he did not play enough for City in the league; he then was released by City and the rest is history.
There are a lot of football fans, pundits and writers who would class Diaby as ‘deadwood’ and ‘liability’, but I cannot agree with these people.
Deadwood refers to people who just sit on the bench, content collecting their pay cheque, cannot be sold because they lack quality, and do not deserve to be playing at the club they are currently at because of their lack of ability; and when they are asked to play because the manager has no other alternatives and is forced to play them, they play poorly. A ‘liability’ refers to someone who does more bad than good and costs his team matches rather than win his team matches; someone you would rather just not have in your squad and cannot wait to transfer out.
Diaby is far from this. Diaby is always fighting to get back to full fitness to play matches and is never happy watching his team mates play instead of playing himself. I am sure that Diaby would trade his weekly pay cheque for an injury free career! When he is fit and playing he runs the midfield, offers a physical presence in midfield which we lack and covers the length of the pitch like it is nothing, and with his quality he deserves to be at Arsenal and to be a regular starter. If it was not for his injuries and Diaby was made available on the transfer market, I can guarantee that any club in the Premier League would want Diaby. To me a quality injury prone player is not ‘deadwood’. Diaby is far from a ‘liability’, as when he plays he rarely makes mistakes that cost us matches and is often the midfield force that wins us matches.
I personally think Wenger will keep Diaby till his contract expires (which is in 2015) and based on whether Diaby can get the better of his injuries, the manager will make a decision on whether to release him or offer a new contract.
I will now say no more and ask you five questions, and I would like you to tell us all your answers which I hope will lead to some great responses and discussions:
Do you think Diaby should be given his marching orders? If yes, when? and why? If no, why?
Will Wenger give Diaby his marching orders or keep the believe in Diaby? If yes, when? and why? If no, why?
Do you see Diaby getting the better of his injuries like RVP did?
Do you think Diaby should retire? If yes, when? and why? If no, why?
Where do you see Diaby in three years?
I would also love to hear any other thoughts on the topic.
Written by: AFC.