When Arsenal signed the giant midfield talent that was Abou Diaby from Auxerre the parallels with a former captain supremo were always going to be apparent. Strong, tall, dynamic … French; it was a no-brainer.
"I am frustrated and disappointed for Abou Diaby with all the injuries he suffered. If he could have improved constantly, he would have reached an exceptional level. About his potential, he is better than me, better on a technical level, better dribbler, and better scorer too. In one word, more versatile than I was."
It would now however seem that it is too late for the French international. After suffering another serious injury, this time to his knee, he has been ruled out until after the start of the new season. If Arsene Wenger has not given up on the player he is perhaps the only one. The majority of fans have come to terms with the fact his career will forever be one stalled by injury worries.
Meaning Arsenal are looking for midfield replacements this summer; with one player catching the eye who has also had to deal with the ‘next Vieira’ tag throughout his very immature career.
The player in question is Abdisalam Ibrahim. The Gunners, along with a number of Premier League clubs, are reportedly interested in the Somali-born Norwegian youth international currently on loan at Stromsgodset; from Vieira’s other English club Manchester City.
Ibrahim has not had an opportunity to cement a place in the Etihad first team so far as the majority of youngsters at the club have had to watch as Roberto Mancini continues to grow the first-team squad from elsewhere.
But in Norway he has been in great form; last season helping to lead Godset to an unlikely title challenge and he has started this campaign in similar fashion.
With his contract at City expiring in 2014 the rumours persist he feels the time is right to leave the club. With Arsenal always looking to fill the void left by their French hero in 2005 they might just look to where their former captain is currently employed to provide the answers.
Do you think Arsenal should sign Abdisalam Ibrahim?