Saturday, February 24, 2024

Wenger: Diaby shift not borne out of necessity

Arsene Wenger says his decision to utilise Abou Diaby in a deep-lying midfield role is to help the player develop his game after his latest injury and not a decision taken due to a failure to strengthen in the position during the transfer window.

The French international made his first start for 18 months in Tuesday’s defeat against Southampton, anchoring midfield in a role usually held by Mikel Arteta and Mathieu Flamini.

Asked whether the 28-year-old had been charged with defensive responsibilities out of necessity, the boss told his weekly press conference:

“No, not at all. He’s a natural resource we have. He’s a top quality player. If you look to find better players than Abou Diaby in the [transfer] market you’ll have big problems.

“He has not played for one and a half years and I try to find a solution that suits him and us.

“What’s happening? He’s not at his best at the moment because he needs competition and he has not that change of pace and that power in the challenges that is his strength. If we can maintain him without any injuries he’ll come back. It could be a very satisfying solution for him and us.”

Wenger had already hinted earlier in the week that Diaby’s ‘transformation’ into a defensive midfielder was partly because he wanted to save the poor bloke from having his ankles banjaxed by aggressive tackles from behind.

“I try to transform him because he was injured and has the physical potential to win the challenges, to face the game will be easier for him than to play back to goal with the injuries he had,” said Wenger.

“I try to develop him in a deeper role. I think he can do it, he can be very interesting, has all the attributes. He must love it as well because he’s more of an offensive minded player.”

Having been on the books at Arsenal since January 2006 Diaby will be out of contract this summer and likely looking for a new club.

After years operating out wide and in a more advanced midfield position it feels as though the boss, in light of his compatriot’s injury problems, is offering him an opportunity to learn a role – one that requires less dynamism – so that he can elongate his stop start career.

Should he prove himself adept Diaby may well come in useful for the rest of the season, although you suspect Wenger isn’t putting any pressure on him.

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Nothing would make me happier than to see this work. Diaby’s performance at Anfield a few seasons back is one of the top solo shifts I’ve seen in a decade. His quality cannot be debated.

Formerly Known As El Capitano

I really rate him as a player when he is firing on all cylinders… the guy has been truly cursed with his horrific injury record. Hopefully that is all behind him now and he can get some game time for us. For me personally though, I just think he is too much of a liability with his injury record, I don’t think Arsene will ever be able to get a full season out of him, which is a real shame as he such a talented player. I think its just one of those really unfortunate situations where we have to… Read more »


If he does well though, it’s a tough decision to take, risk it but offer him only a lower wage to minimise the risk? If that happens then what would it take for Chelsea/City/Uniterd to offer to turn his head (they could all do with someone like him..)? I like to think he’d take a lower wage and show some loyalty but I’ve thought that before and been very wrong.

Anonymous Physicist

It would be great if this works out. I’m not banking on him becoming a regular starter, but a Rosicky-type resurrection as a valuable squad member would be wonderful.

The shift to DM also makes sense to me. It may be a very physical position as well, but as a DM most of the time you’re going into challenges on your own terms. And when you do have the ball opponents aren’t as desperate to take it off you when you’re deep in midfield as they are when you’re bursting into the box.


miracles happen.


If he stays fit he would flourish as a DM. His physical and technical attributes are superb plus he’s a good passer of the ball


Diaby was always one of my favorite players. When he was last fit, I remember him playing like a boss for france and for us, unfortunately not for long. If he stays fit he’s gonna be a huge player for our squad. I can see him play alongside ramsey/wilshere and infront of them özil. Would love to see him play a great season, then getting a new contract and then having the next 5years with us without injuries.

Would be a good story to tell.


Sounds like the perfect solution to everyone’s problems…… just a pity I didn’t happen sooner

Petit's Handbag

Give him a go Sunday, good chance since we’re playing one of the lesser lights of the league.

Clock End Mike

Or even Saturday…

Finsbury Park Gooner

In other news, ‘natural leader’ Wayne Rooney to play CB for United at the weekend…


The only way their defence could get worse.


I wonder if his contract will be renewed. The DM role is a very physical one where you have to make important challenges. I’m not sure how this will help Abou.

Andy Mack

If you’re not carrying a knock then If you see a challenge coming, you’re kind of ready for it. It doesn’t mean you don’t get injured but not as often as you’d expect. It’s the tackles from behind that you’re not expecting, that cause the majority of injuries. If you’re carrying an injury and can’t move your weight around automatically then it becomes ‘pot-luck’ even when you see it coming.

Man Manny

Anywhere would do. I love Diaby in an Arsenal shirt.
A fit Diaby will actually feel like a new signing. He will bring strength, height and guile to our midfield.
I have a feeling that a fit Diaby will have a big say in how our season pans out.
Stay strong big man.


He has the physical attributes, and it would be a cruel person to not want to see him finally get some regular football, but I’m not sure he has the meant am attributed for that role. I rarely panic when an arsenal player has the ball deep in our half like when diaby has it. Great at breaking from deep, but does try to dribble out dangerous situations rather than a simple pass, and has been caught. Maybe coaching and age will see that as a thing of the past, but its a huge mindset change to adopt that level… Read more »

Muse seem convinced that Diaby will not be at the club next season but if he stays fit and makes a positive contribution to the team then I wouldn’t be against giving him something like a pay as you play deal. And we all know that Wenger can be sentimental when it comes to players.


The decision on his contract renewal will be taken on the basis of the predictions of the medical team regarding his potential physical state, and whether it will permit him to reasonably contribute over the duration of his new contract.
As for Wenger, it seems he’s made it already very clear what he thinks: “He’s a top quality player. If you look to find better players than Abou Diaby in the [transfer] market you’ll have big problems”.

…which I agree with completely.


Really hope this guy can stay fit and uninjured. He more than deserves a good run in the side.


There isn’t a player in the world who deserves this to work more than Abou. Wishing him all the best, and hey…he’s a fucking good player too.

maru ken

There is nothing that brings me more joy than remembering him kicking John Terry in the face…cunt…


Would love to see him do well in the “DM” role and be rewarded with a year’s extension. Then, who knows?

Fingers crossed for big Abou!


When did the general consensus turn to loving suppot for diaby? I remember most of his tenure being greeted with hate of ‘stealing a living’ and jokes. I don’t hate him as a person but hes basically been chilling in the treatment room getting massaged for the last 8 years. He watches thr matches at home with his best friend Younes kaboul and has never proved himself except for one tournament with France and one performance vs Liverpool. Now you people tryin to tell me a previously lightweight defensively, catastrophically injury prone guy, who has been out for a year… Read more »


Jog on to le grove mate…


Abou oozes class on the pitch. I for one am thrilled he is fit. May the injury gods spare him this season and bring him more to come for the Arsenal.


Pretty much.

You’re remembering the Diaby who first came here, he was starting to turn in some impressive performances the few times he got a run in the team.

It’s like criticiisng Ronaldo for no end product and too many stepovers, very true 10 years ago, not so much now.


i really hope we offer diaby a one year contract in the summer if hes played say at least 10-15 games this season, having put the effort in for 8 years it would be so depressing to see him perform well at another club. also loads of arsenal players (van twat face and rosicky)seem to have come back from injury problems and played well when they got older and numerous people have told us to give up on them


Keep him injury free and positionally disciplined and this could be a surprisingly effective option for us as a defensive midfielder. I hope for him that it works out.

colour blind to Red n White

Natural successor to Viera and Arteta ? Personaly I’d really love that. Wasn’t that the original plan for him anyway? Well, He can learn quite a bit from Arteta, including how to have perfect hair 😉 wouldn’t tht be a sight lol


I hope he signs a new contract and we offer him one. Perhaps we could give him a low-end base salary with a pay-as-you-play bonus structure.

Big Mac

Diaby is not a DM. Why convert another attack minded player into a role that really wouldn’t suit him? He takes to many risks and often tries the difficult option instead of the easy. He needs to change his entire game and his football thinking to be a good DM. Why even try? He is a great box to box player so let him flourish therer if he comes back to full fitness. Making a Dm of him feels like an excuse from Wenger for not being able to buy what we needed in the transfer window. Don’t waste his… Read more »


arteta was not a dm even he has not the attributes like speed physicality and aggressive tackling nor height for DM but he is playing solid in that positions 2 years now, so why not diaby especially he has all to be success at DM positions he is tall physical has great hold up play can hold the ball with two players on his back and get free from them, good passing and good vision, no doubt he can be a success only thing that can stop him are the injuries.

Podolski's left foot

Can I just say I love the word ‘banjanxed’. What a top quality word.


Top top quality.




I do like Diaby, he’s part and parcel of the arsenal family. I would absolutely love for him to excel with us, i’ll even give him a new contract because he’s been around for a while, we’ve persevered with him for a while nursing his numerous injuries. We’ve sunk so much into him that it’ll make no sense to let go now. Decent lad, level-headed… i feel for him. However, i am worried by wenger’s quote on him: We need a top notch Defensive midfielder! Mr. perfect hair, club hair, nice bloke Arteta is PAST IT! Flamini has regressed badly.… Read more »

Bellerin's Bellend

Honestly speaking, whether the shift is or isn’t borne out of necessity I think his new role may go a long way in solving what has been a problematic area for us ever since Gilberto left in 2008. Don’t be fooled by Song’s tenure in that role, he was a misguided DM who had dreams of becoming the next JJ Okocha. All too many times we have been caught wanting defensively due to a lack of physical presence in midfield. Out of all the candidates vying for one of the two defensive midfield berths,Diaby is the most physically adept to… Read more »

Stewart Robson's therapist

I want him to play the whole game against Chelsea and kick John Terry in the head. (And outplay Fabregas.)

Injured Gooner

I have mixed feelings about Diaby, to the extreme.


I had always been one of those quick to say ‘He’s not and has never been a DM’ although there was never any doubt that despite being a little on the lanky side he’s built a bit like one.

Well I guess I can now happily put that one away.

Excited to see if Abou can work his way into contention, and at least develop a new role he may be able to take forward regardless of where that is. But it would be beautiful if he could flourish with us.


Everybody knows that Diaby is shit. He couldn’t pass properly and he is lazy. The sooner we get rid of him, the better it is for Arsenal.


Everybody knows that Willy G is shit. He can’t think properly and he is lazy. The sooner we get rid of him, the better it is for Arsenal.


WillyG has thumbed up his post and down mine. Makes all the difference, I’m having to rethink my views now.


This isn’t surprising. Diaby has improved defensively with age which is normal. Felt we could have benefited from Diaby’s offensive power had Flamini been available for Southampton. Having said that, there is no reason why Diaby cannot play a deeper lying role when need be. The only obvious issue for Diaby is as always durability. But footballing terms, he is World Class. There are very few players with the sort of size and power he has that has such immaculate close control. Some of his distribution from deep against Southampton was also superb and this from a player that is… Read more »

Stewart Robson's therapist

28 – isn’t that the sort of age that Rosicky and the Dutch Skunk finally shook off their consistent injuries? Here’s hoping Diaby can do the same, and go for a few years yet like Tomas has. He is a stunning talent who could quite easily match the likes of Toure and Matic – even against Southampton, his first start in nearly two years, he was quality. That long ball to Alexis in the first half was beautiful. (Would have been even more beautiful had Alexis managed to bring it down properly, but hey, it’s not an easy skill.)


Please stay injury free Abu and do the job we know you can doo.


And show terrys head your other booot


Well first he has to get some games before all this talk about our “new” CDM.


Won’t happen for Diaby, would love to be wrong but it is time to cut our losses and give his place in the squad to someone that can actually contribute.


Thought Diaby played well the other night, controlled the flow of the game with his passing and did a good job switching play. The challenge will come when reading the game on defense, which was evident during one of Southhampton’s chances. Hope it works out, always been one of my fave gooners.

mersons coke dealer

Diaby’s a bit of a cult figure at the Emirates. I got ‘Diaby 2’ on the back of my new shirt !

mersons coke dealer

24 rather


I really hope Diaby stays fit.

Just a thought on DM: Why not try Coquelin? His passing may not be as crisp as Arterta but he is much more mobile, and a decent enough tackler.

Against Southampton he did a commendable job at left back, which it seems nobody noticed. I felt his contribution was not appreciated enough.


How the fuck Gallas ever captained Arsenal I will never know ! And he even wore the number 10 shirt…..shocking.


I remember watching diaby 2 years ago against liverpool and he was the best player on the pitch. The guy has major game. If healthy, I see a yaya type player

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