There is a word around that Diaby is injury free and heading back to his very best. Of course, many will just laugh at this or sneer – because that is what they do about things – but there are some people who would love to see Diaby come to his potential.
Let us just imagine for a moment that the stories are true and that Diaby is indeed able to play quite a bit of the season without injuries. Such returns can happen. Rosicky, for example, was out for a long time with injury, but then came back and gave us some excellent service last year.
So what would it mean for the midfield?
Try this one for size:
Which leaves out of the mix:
- Wilshere – who will only play part of the season, but he will be there.
- Ramsey – disliked by some because it has taken him time to return from a terrible injury but he is returning to the quality of his play that made us sign him.
- Rosicky – obviously won’t play every game, but an excellent player to bring in for certain games.
- Oxlade Chamberlain – thought of mostly as a wing forward, but we saw him in midfield last season and he was impressive.
- Coquelin – a defender and a midfielder and a player of immense potential.
- Frimpong – two serious injuries have wrecked his time at Arsenal, but he is slowly making his way back.
Plus, among the up and comings who are on the far East tour… (info repeated from the earlier article on the tour, in case you missed it).
- Thomas Eisfeld – a midfielder signed from Borussia Dortmund at the start of the year. He played in the reserves three times last season, but got injured – but where ever there is talk of him it is talking him up big time.
- Craig Eastmond – He has played for us 4 times starting in 2009, Millwall 6 and Wycombe 14. He played alongside Cesc and Diaby in the midfield against Bolton in 2009, and signed a new long term contract in 2010 and played in the Euro match against Shakhtar Donetsk. With Frimpong out injured this is probably his “now or never” moment.
That gives us 11 players. As I keep trying to stress I am not saying any of these will play every game, or even half the games – although we would expect Song and Arteta to be there most of the time unless they get a serious injury.
Of course Diaby and Wilshere need to come back gently, or course Eisfeld and Eastmond are going to get gentle introductions, of course Rosicky is not going to be playing twice a week.
But my point is: look at the choice and the options. Even with the mega attacks of injuries that Arsenal get, there is still such a range of talent and ability.
Mr Wenger himself said, “This tour is another decider for Diaby. He will play on Tuesday night and now it is down to uncontrolled movement in games: how does your body react to that? I am confident with what I have seen in training that he will do it.
“He is the first player who would be on the France teamsheet in midfield when he is fit. Laurant Blanc said that before the European Championship and he waited a very long time to know if he could play or not. But he couldn’t.”
Wenger also dismissed talk of a move for Yann M’Vila and said he is already well stocked in midfield. “We wait on Diaby and Wilshere,” he said. “When you look we have Song, Ramsey, Coquelin, Wilshere, Arteta and Diaby, in defensive midfielders and box-to-box players we are not short if they are all coming back. If we have setbacks in pre-season it could be different.”
Which means that when Mr Wenger speaks of buying one or two more players in the transfer window, he is not talking of midfield. Nor can he be talking of goalkeepers when we have Martinez at home and three experienced men on the tour. Which leaves (rather obviously I must admit) forwards and defenders.
Published with permission from Untold Arsenal: Arsenal News. Supporting the Lord Wenger; coach of the decade.