Whilst many top talents have come and gone from Arsenal throughout the years, reaching a real level of consistency in the Premier League and proving massive hits for Arsene Wenger and his determined Gunners outfit whilst they were at it – Abou Diaby’s recent stint in north London must nonetheless be shelved in the unfulfilled potential category at the Emirates.
His story with Arsenal has rather unfortunately become defined by a series of ‘what ifs’ and ‘maybes’, in regards to how well the unflappable French midfielder could have actually done at the club. Without the frustrating threat of injuries coming along to restrict his progress seemingly with every passing season, the now 29-year-old really had it in him to take the Premier League by storm, and become an even better asset for his loyal boss, Arsene Wenger.
However, as fate for injury-prone modern day footballers invariably never quite turns out as well as initially hoped for, Diaby is now looking to begin the 2015/16 campaign with Marseille back in his native France, after officially ending his infrequent spell with the Gunners.
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In light of the centre-midfielder’s eventual move away from the Emirates, is it about time Arsene Wenger finally cut the club’s ties with the former Auxerre star and French international, or could Arsenal have perhaps got just a little bit more out of Abou Diaby before he ultimately decided to move on from north London?
Well, from the perspective of what the player can actually do with the ball out on the pitch, Arsene Wenger and the loyal Emirates faithful may have just about lost one of the best midfielder’s to ever set foot at the club in recent history. When Diaby is free from injury and well within the flow of the week-to-week Premier League schedule, the former Arsenal no. 24 has rarely disappointed.
Even when the Frenchman has made just the odd cameo appearance once returning from a long-term spell on the side-lines, the creative midfield enforcer seriously knows how to dictate proceedings for his side in the middle of the park. Abou Diaby is a very clinical passer of the ball, a sheer beast in the tackle yet equally as adept at the technical side of the game, as well as a truly dominant force that can simply provide match winning performances when the situation allows.
The former Emirates favourite was therefore just as solid in attack as he was in defence of Arsenal, making the now 29-year-old a definitive box-to-box master of the modern era. With every single one of his nine Premier League seasons for the Gunners proving difficult in the injury department however, Arsene Wenger rarely got to utilize Abou Diaby’s wide-ranging skill-set on a regular basis.
Whilst it would have been nice to see the recently acquired Marseille man do his thing at the Emirates for a good while yet to come, such a romanticized way going about business very rarely proves profitable for Premier League football clubs in the end. So, even though this current Arsenal outfit would certainly look a great deal stronger with a fit and firing Diaby involved, the Gunners ultimately made the right decision in choosing to let him go this summer.
Sometimes you just have to know when to give up on certain players if you want your club to truly progress into the future, and as the towering Frenchman was definitely more of a spectator than regular player for Arsenal in recent seasons, the north Londoners simply had to cut their ties with Abou Diaby sooner or later – such an outcome was merely inevitable.
The talented midfielder can now look to the upcoming 2015/16 season with a renewed sense of hope and optimism, as he finally begins a new league campaign away from the injury related frustration developed at the Emirates.
Tony Pulis and West Brom reportedly wanted to keep the former Arsenal man within the Premier League ahead of the new season, but as the midfielder himself is likely looking forward to turning over a fresh leaf in a new league and different surroundings completely, the prospect of seeing Diaby playing for West Brom next term ultimately seemed like an unlikely one at best.
So then, even though Arsenal somewhat missed a trick in never being able to rely upon their former no. 24 throughout the years, the decision to part way with Abou Diaby this summer was certainly the correct one in the cold light of day.