Arsenal Focus – Abou Diaby’s sad tale nears its conclusion

Among the big names at the Emirates Stadium, there is plenty of deadwood; idle, profligate individuals who contribute very little, or indeed nothing, to Arsenal Football Club at present. The likes of Sebastien Squillaci, Andrei Arshavin and Marouane Chamakh are names which particularly resonate with that term. Abou Diaby is another player who doesn’t supply as much ability to the Gunners as he should – though his case falls into a very different category.

Details of the French midfielder’s latest injury setback hit media outlets on Thursday afternoon – a torn anterior cruciate ligament which will rule Diaby out for around nine months after surgery has taken place. The nature of the damage may well be shocking but the same reaction can’t be felt for the fact that Diaby has been consigned to the physio room again. His lanky figure laid horizontally on the treatment table has been an all too familiar sight over the past six years.

Since arriving from Auxerre in 2006 for a fee of £2m, Diaby has enjoyed only two relatively injury-free seasons – those of 2008/09 and 2009/10, where he made 76 appearances under Arsene Wenger. If you take Diaby’s other six seasons in north London, he’s made just 79 starts – approximately just 13 per season.

Such a plethora of knocks – some minor, most major – have seriously impeded his route to becoming one of Europe’s best all-round midfielders. And that’s not hyperbolic. When he’s fully fit, Diaby is one of the first names on the team sheet of France’s national team, which is no mean feat.

Athletically gifted and blessed with the clich

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