Injuries really can spoil an entire career, and no example depicts this better than Arsenal midfielder Abou Diaby. Diaby’s skillset has never been in doubt, it’s his health that has always been the problem. Ever since being acquired in the 2006 season, Diaby has never stayed healthy for an entire season.
Often compared to Patrick Vieira (which is never a bad thing), Diaby has the technical ability to make a huge impact on Arsenal’s 2014/15 season – if he can remain healthy.
Diaby’s healthiest stint with the club was from 2008-2010, where he managed a combined 43 appearances, scoring 9 times and assisting 6 times. In the following four seasons, he averaged a mere 8 appearances per season.
So where is he now?
Diaby is returning from another injury. He most recently featured in the U21’s match against West Brom, playing one half. This “rehab stint” will hopefully see him moved to the first team in the coming weeks.
While Diaby’s 6’3” frame could easily be construed as that of a defensive midfielder (something Arsenal desperately need), neither Diaby nor Wenger believe that is his best position. However, it is tantalizing to think of Diaby slotted in-between Ramsey and Wilshere, where Arteta had been. That midfield trio would by dynamic in its combined box-to-box style of play, creativity and ability.
While Diaby deserves nothing more than a run of good health, one has to expect that the injury train will pull into Diaby’s station yet again. There’s no point in holding out hope, so any contribution that he can make to the first team should feel like a bonus.
Hopefully this is the year the 28 year old can finally stay healthy. We’ll just have to wait and see.