I honestly don’t know why Arsenal fans keeps asking whether Abou Diaby will soon be able to play, considering that Arsene Wenger yet again refused to buy a defensive midfielder in the hope that Diaby would be able to fill that role.
Four weeks ago Diaby himself told us that he had been lined up by Wenger to play as DM. He said: “The boss and I have spoken about it and it could be an option,”
“The boss told me he could see me playing in that position and that he thinks I have the ability to do it.
“I’ve never played there before, so it’s something new for me but I think it could be an option for the team and for myself to add something to my game.
“I have an attacking mentality so to stay back and create the link between the defence and attack is something new. I would like to get used to it, to learn how to be effective in that role if I play there, and then we will see.
“The way I see the game will be different, as will my position. I need to learn how to do that effectively.
“First of all, when you play in this position you have to be effective defensively. I would need to track back, break up play and also avoid the opponent from playing through the lines.
“For me, those are the first things. At the same time, you are always involved, you take a lot of touches and you need to make sure that you play the right passes to find strikers and midfielders in good positions.
“You need to be able to contribute to both sides of the game.”
Yes, you need to be able to contribute, but to do that you actually need to be on the field, and Diaby has not played since appearing with the reserves for the Capitol One Cup against Southampton over a month ago, which was his first competitive game for 18 months, and was also the first time he tried playing as DM. Diaby said after the game: “I’ve never played there before, so it’s something new for me but I think it could be an option for the team and for myself to add something to my game.”
Wenger afterwards said that Diaby was definitely the reason he didn’t buy anyone else for that position. Le Prof was aked if he regretted buying a new DM, and he replied: “Not at all. Abou Diaby is a natural resource that I have because he’s a top-quality player. If you look to find better quality players than Diaby on the market you will have big problems. He has not played for one and a half years and I tried to find a solution that suits him and us.
“What’s happening is that he’s not at his best at the moment because he needs competition. He has not got that change of pace and the power in his challenges that are his strengths, but if I can maintain him without any injuries he will come back and it could be a very satisfying solution for him and us.”
The BIG problem is that he CANNOT be maintained without any injuries. Just today Wenger was asked if Gnabry and Diaby would be fit to face Burnley this weekend. He replied: “They are not quite ready yet. Gnabry is closer than Diaby fitness-wise. He is a couple of weeks away.”
So how far away is Diaby? And did Wenger really not buy a DM because he thought Abou would be able to cover that position?