Martin Keown believes Arsene Wenger will be devastated if he has to let Abou Diaby go

Abou Diaby is out of contract in the summer and Martin Keown believes Arsene Wenger would hate letting him go.

It would appear that Arsenal can no longer be sentimental toward their talented midfielder Abou Diaby - who looks set to become a free agent in the summer.

His contract expires in the summer and last month the Sun reported he would be let go.

But he played in two under-21 matches this week and that seems to have given him one last chance of keeping his Arsenal contract.

One former Arsenal player however knows Arsene Wenger has a tough decision to make.

Martin Keown was talking in his weekly Daily Mail ‘Tackle Keown’ feature today about the future of Diaby, and how sorely his departure would hurt Wenger.

He stated:

“I feel absolutely gutted for him.

“It’ll be a difficult decision for Wenger, as he’s given him plenty of time to recover. If he lets Diaby go, it’ll be with a heavy heart. He treats each player like they’re family, like they’re one of his boys.

“I thought he was going to take the place of Patrick Vieira. He was like Patrick, but with an extra yard of pace – and Patrick was no slouch!

“Wenger was buzzing over his signature when he signed him, he was really excited to work with him. He could have been the long-term solution.

“But at the moment he’s taking up a place in the squad. Arsene has a tough call to make.”

The line about Vieira certainly rings true. Arsenal have never truly replaced the former captain and Diaby looked the obvious candidate as he made his way into the first-team after a move from Auxerre.

At age 19, a horror challenge from Sunderland’s now forgotten defender Dan Smith in May 2006, left him with a broken ankle and he has not been back in regular action since.

Diaby has not featured for The Gunners since the Capital One Cup defeat to Southampton in September last year.

Talented, unfortunate and ultimately not needed by Arsenal. Wenger faces a tough decision indeed.

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