The French midfielder Abou Diaby is one of the longest serving players in the current Arsenal squad. He joined the Gunners back in 2006, from French club Auxerre, and was shaping up to be our long term replacement for his compatriot Patrick Vieira, who had left Arsenal at the end of the previous season.
Right near the end of Diaby’s first season, his problems began. A terrible tackle by Sunderland’s Dan Smith left Diaby out of the Champions League final and possibly out of football for good. Many operations and months later he returned, but his Arsenal career has been plagued by injury problems ever since. His nine seasons have seen just 123 league appearances, less than 15 per year.
Now 27-years old, Diaby was back on the bench for the Gunners’ last game and is hopeful of getting on the pitch before the season ends. He has been speaking about his latest setback, as reported by Arsenal.com, and has revealed that, despite considering calling it a day this time, he is more determined than ever to squeeze what he can out of his remaining playing career.
The Frenchman said, “It was the longest absence of my career. You ask yourself questions. You ask yourself if you are still a football player.
“You think of abandoning it all. I said to myself, ‘I’ve had enough. I stop here. I’ve had enough of treatment and rehab’. I spoke about it with my parents, brothers, sisters and my friends. Then I woke up one morning and said, ‘No, it’s out of the question’. I quickly saw sense.
“It’s true that it’s been hard because I’ve had a lot of injuries. I am a believer and in my faith despair doesn’t exist. You have to persevere, always. Never give up, whatever the difficulties.
“Then I’m only 27, nearly 28. It’s not as if I’m 33. I still have five, six years in front of me. Maybe more.
“I would have liked to play 10 minutes. I counted the subs – one, two then three. I wanted to be there.
“I am ready. But I’m pleased just to have been there to feel the adrenaline of the game. That’s what I missed the most.”
It would be fantastic if Arsenal can have Diaby back next season. With all of the midfield talent we have now, he would not have to play in every game but could be a real asset. And then, who knows, maybe he will get to finally enjoy a good few years at the latter stages of his career.