Arsene Wenger has urged Abou Diaby not to give up on football despite another major injury which will see him sidelined until next year.
The French international has suffered 35 separate injuries since having his ankle snapped by Sunderland’s Dan Smith on 1 May 2006 with his latest problem, an Anterior Cruciate Ligament tear in his left knee, requiring his fifth major surgery of his career to date.
It leaves the 26-year-old’s career hanging by a thread and while he still has time on his side to make another comeback it’s feared he’ll never be able to play with the freedom his talent requires and deserves.
Speaking after yesterday’s win over Reading, before which Diaby’s teammates wore t-shirts bearing a message of support, Arsene Wenger underlined how frustrated his midfielder was with the latest setback.
“That was the shock of the week for us because I thought originally it was just a little twist of the knee.
“When they told me it was a rupture of his cruciate, and when you know what this guys has gone through, how many times he has worked day and night to come back in rehab, it is just demoralising. I hope he will find the resources and the strength to come back, because he was quite down.
“When you look at the number of problems he had, the surgeries, he is 26 years old and has had four or five big surgeries. That demands a lot of mental strength to come back and I hope he will not give up and will continue.”
In eight seasons Diaby has featured in 182 games for Arsenal, including 43 substitute appearances. Unfortunately, the fact that he’s only been able to feature on 63 occasions since penning a new long-term contract in January 2010 is clear evidence that not even time has been able to heal his problems. If anything it’s just brought new ones to light.
It’s a real shame given he’s a player who when confident and fit has supreme natural talent. Naturally we hope he makes a full recovery as soon as possible but at the same time the ball is firmly in Arsene’s court when it comes to finding a suitable long-term replacement.