Abou Diaby has returned to full fitness after months out with injuries and is now available for selection for Arsenal.
The Frenchman is highly rated and has been on the books of the Gunners since 2006. However, the midfielder has suffered with injuries in recent years and was pretty much a ‘forgotten man’ until last month.
Having featured against Southampton in the third round of the League Cup at the Emirates Stadium in September, Diaby is ready to play a role for Arsenal as the season progresses.
Given the injuries he has suffered over the years, Diaby is unlikely to be deployed in a box-to-box role and could be played in a more conservative role.
Arsenal did not sign a defensive midfielder in the summer transfer window and manager Arsene Wenger could use Diaby there, something that the former Auxerre star is willing to do.
‘[The boss and I] have spoken about it and it could be an option’. he told Arsenal’s official matchday programme. ‘The boss told me he could see me playing in that position and that he thinks I have the ability to do it...
‘I have an attacking mentality so to stay back and create the link between the defence and attack is something new. I would like to get used to it, to learn how to be effective in that role if I play there, and then we will see.
‘The way I see the game will be different, as will my position. I need to learn how to do that effectively. First of all, when you play in this position you have to be effective defensively. I would need to track back, break up play and also avoid the opponent from playing through the lines.
‘For me, those are the first things. At the same time, you are always involved, you take a lot of touches and you need to make sure that you play the right passes to find strikers and midfielders in good positions. You need to be able to contribute to both sides of the game’.
It seems that Diaby knows exactly what he needs to do if he is played as a defensive midfielder. However, it remains to be seen how he executes his duties when he takes to the pitch.