Leeds United should offer Abou Diaby a pay-as-you-play deal

Leeds United East Stand

The former Arsenal player is perfect for Leeds United if he stays fit.

Leeds United have impressed with their summer spending to date, strengthening the majority of positions that needed additional bodies – notably in goal, in defence and up front.

The deals for Charlie Horton, Sol Bamba, Lee Erwin and Chris Wood suggest the future could be very bright under the recently appointed Uwe Rosler, but there is one area of the field that needs more quality and that is central midfield.

Experience is the order of the day, with Joey Barton and Steve Sidwell already talked of as potential targets, and whatever you thought of Rodolph Austin, his exit means Leeds need to find an older head before the new campaign kicks off.

There is one midfielder who is available that – when fit – is among the very best the Premier League has seen for many a year, and while it is a leftfield suggestion, Leeds owner Massimo Cellino may be smart to take a chance on him.

Abou Diaby left Arsenal this summer having been blighted by injuries in recent times and wherever he does end up next there will be a substantial risk involved. But it could be a risk that pays huge dividends given just how good the Frenchman is.

Signed on a pay-as-you-play deal, the 29-year-old would immediately bring experience to a young Leeds midfield that has talent in abundance but lacks the nous that only time spent playing the game can bring.

Diaby played 180 games for Arsenal, developing into a wonderful defensive midfielder who read the game brilliantly and also popped up with his fair share of goals and assists.

He is still held in high regard by Gunners fans who wish things had worked out differently for him, but while Arsene Wenger did not opt to give him a new contract, that does not mean he is a lost cause.

Indeed, he regained his fitness to play for Arsenal’s under-21s at the end of last season and with a full pre-season behind him, who is to say he could not enjoy a timely renaissance.

Diaby will know as well as anyone that whoever signs him will not want to take a substantial financial reward, meaning he may be happy to accept a deal that rests heavily on him proving his fitness over a sustained period of time.

Cellino is a canny negotiator and if he can convince Diaby that Leeds is the club for him, it could be a brilliant if unexpected move for all concerned.

Leeds need a quality midfielder and Diaby needs a club, so what chance an unlikely partnership between the two?

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