Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger has hailed Abou Diaby as a 'major asset', but admitted he is not taking anything for granted.
The 28-year-old played half a game against Boreham Wood Town in a friendly at the weekend.
Wenger told Arsenal.com he is happy with his progress, but the injury hit midfielder's previous bad luck means as a coach he is still worried Diaby could break down once again.
"You wish that he just gets through the game, which happened here - I'm very pleased with that,”
“If you get a fit Diaby back, it will be a major asset for our team. At the moment we go step-by-step and he came through this game so that's very good news for us.”
Diaby himself said he was delighted to be back in action:
"I haven't done that [play 45 minutes] for one year so I was really happy to be back in a normal game. I hope it's going to stay like this."
He went onto add that he is not being pushed, and will not take part in 100 per cent of pre-season activities.
"Pre-season has been really good so far, we still have three weeks and I hope to complete 90 per cent of it and that will be a successful one for me."
Clearly it is still too early to assess what part Diaby can play this coming season. Arsenal have been linked with signing midfielders Sami Khedira, William Carvalho and Morgan Schneiderlin in the past fortnight, and it would be a mistake to abandon these plans.
Throughout his career, Diaby's fitness struggles have prevented him becoming a regular, and Arsenal would be gambling to just assume his luck would now turn.
If he is to become a 'major asset' as Wenger suggests, the best approach is surely to keep using him sparingly over the first half of the season and hope as his fitness increases he can help the club kick on during the run-in.