Can Arsenal finally count on Abou Diaby after his latest comments?

Arsenal midfielder Abou Diaby says that whilst he came close to retirement, he feels that his knee is in good shape ahead of the new season.

The Gunners continue to keep the 'feel good factor' around the club, following up their 3-2 FA Cup final win over Hull City - their first trophy in almost nine years - with a string of new signings. Barcelona forward Alexis Sanchez, Newcastle right back Mathieu Debuchy, Nice goalkeeper David Ospina and Southampton defender Calum Chambers have all joined the club this summer, with manager Arsene Wenger spending over £60m on new talent.

Wenger is now believed to be in the market for a new central midfield player, after Mikel Arteta struggled last season. The likes of Sami Khedira (Real Madrid) and Morgan Schneiderlin (Southampton) have been linked, but one forgotten man will be looking to stake a claim.

Frenchman Diaby, 28, has spent eight-and-a-half years in North London, showing that he has the ability to be a lung-busting, physical midfielder in the mould of Gunners legend Patrick Vieira. Yet, in all that time, Diaby has made just 124 Premier League appearances, playing over 20 games in a season just twice.

The reason isn't selection based, it's simply that the former Auxerre star has been plagued by injuries throughout his career - 39 since joining Arsenal, the count stands at. That's almost five injuries per year at the club, which has severely restricted his impact.

Now on the comeback trail again, Diaby admits that he almost retired last year - but is determined to get back in to the Arsenal first team.

"Yeah. Sometimes it crossed my mind, but my love of football is so big that I just couldn’t quit," said Diaby on the possibility of retirin. "I am still young and now that I have an opportunity to play again I want to take it. I try to be positive all the time and that has helped me to come back." 

"It’s great to be playing again. Now I just hope I can keep like this and continue. My knee is feeling good, I have been working hard on my fitness and strength."

Every summer, Arsenal fans get told the same thing. "Diaby will be like a new signing", they say. That is, until his latest injury rules him out, leaving the Gunners short in midfield again. Another season like the last one, where Diaby played just once, could be the end of his time at Arsenal, as Wenger needs players he can rely on - and whilst playing in some pre-season games is a boost, there is still a long way to go before Diaby is considered a factor in the Arsenal midfield.

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