He may be fourth choice in the centre-back pecking order, but Johan Djourou still has a future at the Emirates, according to Arsene Wenger.
Having begun his Gunners career at Highbury in 2004, the Swiss is the longest serving member of the Arsenal first team squad by some margin. However, despite being only two years away from a testimonial (remember them?), his lack of football has proved concerning for national team coach Ottmar Hitzfeld.
Indeed, despite putting pen-to-paper on a new deal at the start of the year, reports circled this summer that the 25-year-old was on the lookout for more playing time elsewhere in the hope of strengthening his international credentials.
Dismissing any suggestion of letting the defender leave, Wenger told Swiss publication Blick why he continues to retain the services of a player he signed as a 16-year-old.
“Because I love the player – and he loves this club. We extended his contract in January.
“Johan is alongside [Thomas] Vermaelen, [Per] Mertesacker and [Laurent] Koscielny as one of four central defenders.
“All four are internationals, so the fight for a regular place is intense. Over the course of the season they’ll all get games.”
Arseblog News has no problem with Djourou staying on the books (as footballer, television host or go-to interview sound byte man). While his form last season was patchy, he has in the past proved himself a very capable member of the defence. That he continues to be a popular and loyal squad member is a further fillip given the manner in which other players have upped and left as soon as they didn’t get what they want.