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Why Arsenal must stand by Abou Diaby

If Arsenal‘s injury crisis over the years were a television show, then Abou Diaby would be it’s leading star. The former Auxerre midfielder has unbelievably suffered 32 injuries –  five injuries per year as well as an average of only 23 games per season - since he broke his leg against Sunderland in May 2006. What’s made it worse in the eyes of certain Arsenal fans is that Diaby is pocketing around an estimate of £50,000-60,000 per week, with majority of those weeks being on the treatment table. Surely Arsenal should get rid of him? No.

Diaby celebrating a goal.

Is it a similar case with Owen Hargreaves? Yes. So why not let him go like Man United did? Well, people need to remember that Hargreaves was 30 years old when released by Man United while Diaby is still only 25 years old with his prime very much ahead of him. He is immensely talented, strong, quick and athletic with a great touch and we have seen in the past what he is very much capable off.

I mean, this is a player who walks into the Arsenal and France (with competition in Cabaye, Nasri, Gourcuff, Valbuena etc) team every time he’s fit. Even in his cameos this season as a substitute against Fulham (H) and Liverpool (A), he has looked lively and promising.

Arsenal have missed Jack Wilshere all season but Diaby is one who they could have very well coped with and lessened the burden on the other midfielders. His skill on the ball, power, dribbling, drive and box-to-box abilities are aspects which Arsenal have missed immensely this season especially with Ramsey and Rosicky playing in the attacking role. While Rosicky has picked up his old form in recent games, it was Diaby who was needed early on in the season. When we needed to break down stubborn teams like Fulham and Wolves, we kept possession aimlessly, never doing anything with it. This is where Diaby trumps players like Ramsey and Arteta – with his ability to get past his opponent.

Diaby skips away from Gerrard.

Given the way Yaya Toure has performed for Man City this season, Diaby, similar in physique and style, could have easily been Arsenal’s Yaya Toure, surging from the midfield and creating attacks.

The problem lies with injuries. He has been injured far too many times! Either it’s the recurring hamstring or the calf muscle issues or it’s an injury caused by an opposition player. As mentioned earlier, Diaby has averaged 23 games per season – that is a very small amount for a regular at a club like Arsenal where if fit, players play a minimum of 50 games.

Calls have been made by Arsenal fans both on Twitter and Facebook to sell the Frenchman, but not because they don’t like him – it’s not like he likes being injured or gets hurt deliberately. But fans are tired of having an injury prone player with potential to be the best. What’s the point of potential if you can’t play on a regular basis? Isn’t it better to cash in on Diaby and lessen our wage bill?

Well, if we or should I say Arsene Wenger, went by this logic, as of now, we wouldn’t have had the best striker in England in 28 year old, Robin van Persie – one who was also very injury prone. We stuck by van Persie throughout his injury hell and are now reaping the benefits as the striker, in his prime, has played at a level close to Ronaldo and Messi with similar goal tallies and is the current top scorer in England. What if we had sold him 3-4 years ago because he, like Diaby currently is, was too injury-prone?

A fixture in the France side.

Hence, this is why we should stand by Diaby and just hope he gets through his injury hell. He is a quality player, just ask every coach he’s worked with and they’ll tell you of his talent – injury-prone, yes but simply too good to risk offloading. To see what exactly Diaby is capable off, click here.

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