It has been a week of good news for Arsenal. First they beat Liverpool 4-1 to give the club a great chance of qualifying for the Champions League. Then, on Tuesday, the man some fans have probably never seen play, Abou Diaby, completed 72 minutes in a 4-1 reserve win.
Since the 19th of February 2013, Diaby has only managed to play in eight competitive games for the North London club.
Six calf strains, four ankle knocks, two hamstrings/thigh muscle problems and both an MCL and ACL knee ligament injury and finally Diaby may be at the start of an injury-free period at the club.
The French midfielder’s contract is up at the end of the season and both the player and the club will be hoping he can make some sort of impact before the summer. During Arsenal’s 4-1 win over Stoke on Tuesday, not only did Diaby play 72 minutes, but he was decisive in creating the second goal.
It makes perfect sense for all involved if the former Auxerre man moved on this summer, and an interview with Arsene Wenger in The Mirror last week suggested a decision has already been taken by the Arsenal boss.
He said: “By me, yes [a decision has been taken]. I had a chat with him and told him how I can envisage the future. He has to make a decision.
“Of course he understands completely that he has to perform and to show that he can be present on a consistent way.
“I will see where we go from there. I wouldn't like to go into details, we have to meet again to see where we go from what I told him. It has to be linked a little bit with his presence.”
Although Wenger has hinted at a “pay as you play” deal, now would be the ideal time for Arsenal to draw a line under Diaby’s career at the club, and perhaps for the player to understand that it is perhaps not meant to be.
It would make sense for the player to stay in the game, but at 28 years old, it is only going to get harder and harder to come back from injuries.
With the amount of hard work that is required, Diaby could put that energy into coaching and developing younger players, helping them from his experiences, rather than spending another two seasons trying to play a handful of games.
Wenger obviously wants to give the player the best opportunity to prove himself, but there has to come a point where enough is enough. That should be this summer when his contract ends.