Wenger hints at new contract for Arsenal midfielder - despite retirement rumours

Abou Diaby Arsenal

Arsene Wenger has hinted that he may look to keep midfielder Abou Diaby at Arsenal.

Arsenal have endured a patchy start to the season, yet despite their 2-1 defeat at Swansea City, the Gunners are just one point off a top four place.

A title challenge looks unlikely already given that they're already 12 points behind Chelsea after just over a quarter of the season, and with the form the Blues are in, that gap could widen in the coming weeks.

Fans are hoping that manager Arsene Wenger strengthens his squad again in the summer, with the Gunners desperately needing a centre back and central midfielder to add some steel to their side.

However, Wenger appears to have identified a deal he would like to complete - and it involves one of his current Arsenal players.

Midfielder Abou Diaby was tipped to be the long term replacement for Patrick Vieira in North London, and whilst he's shown the ability to be a dominant, powerhouse midfielder, injuries have ruined his career.

The Frenchman, 28, has suffered around 40 injuries since joining Arsenal from Auxerre in 2006, and Wenger has acknowledged that the player's ankle is a persistent issue.

"Diaby hasn’t a mental problem, but a problem of injury," said Wenger. "He is a player for whom I have great respect. Whenever he returns, he is injured and he goes from zero. He was destroyed by a bad tackle."

"The football player needs mobility of his ankle. When your ankle mobility is restricted, you compensate with something else. He suffered from a very bad tackle in Sunderland six or seven years ago. He was the victim of an assassin’s tackle that was never punished. It has restricted the mobility of his ankle."

However, Wenger has also suggested that he could look to extend Diaby's deal. Reports last week suggested that he may be forced to retie, but with his current contract set to expire this summer, Wenger says he wants to keep Diaby - if he's healthy.

"If he comes back, I will keep him. I always believed in him. In football, the most important thing is health," added Wenger.

It's quite the turnaround from last week's headlines, but every summer we hear the line "Abou Diaby will be like a new signing!"

There's only so long that Arsenal and their fans can cling on to that notion, and whilst everyone wishes he would return to the pitch in full health, it looks increasingly unlikely as he approaches 30.

Register for ARSENAL team updates

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch