They say when you fail, you try again. And if you fail again, you try again, and again.
Failure cannot be a right word with which to describe 28 year old Abou Diaby at Arsenal. It simply has not worked out for him, and after eight years and at least FORTY injuries, it appears the end may be quite at hand.
Entering into the final year of his contract with Arsenal, Diaby’s footballing future is in deep doubt as no one knows if he really can stay fit enough to make it through one training session after recovering from one injury, before he goes back to the treatment room for some other complaint. From head to shoulders, knees to toes, he is like a man haunted in an after-life for indictments yet to be acquitted and just when you think he is on the vestiges of emancipation, there comes the jailer with the giant chains knocking him back into the pitch black dungeon.
It is almost certain that Wenger will want to go, against his wish, to offer Diaby an elongated stay at the Emirates but even he will find it incredibly hard to muster any justification for that. A player esteemed to have so much in talent and character to fill the furrows left by the legendary Patrick Viera, Diaby arrived Highbury from Auxerre in 2005 with the World at his feet, being tipped to go all the way to reach and eclipse the heights assumed by the former captain. For Wenger, Diaby was going to be another king pin in his new Arsenal generation going into the Emirates Stadium, on whom he would build a team of young potentials, not minding a tight budget, into a dominant force in Europe.
Fabregas, Van Persie, 16 year old Theo Walcott, Emmanuel Adebayor… and Abou Diaby. That was the Wenger plan. Who are we to say the manager never had foresight anyway?
But like the two mentioned before the one who now plays for the spurs, injuries have taken its toll on Diaby. That infamous ankle break in March, which ended up costing him what was an assured place in the team to face Barcelona in Paris, was only the beginning of a litany of chaos, bringing frustration after affliction, with little or no consolation.
As tight as the grip has been on him by his ‘jailer’, there have been periods when he has actually been given some freedom to play and those have been good times, showing just what a player we had on our hands.
The Champions League goal at Anfield against Liverpool in 2008 was one of the highlights of a memorable season where he duly played his part in what would have been a successful campaign domestically and in Europe, prior to Eduardo’s leg break at Birmingham. Anfield, two years ago, also gave us another opportunity to see how immense Diaby was, marshalling the midfield and been behind our first League win of that season after two goal-less draws.
Even against Southampton, he showed good signs of adapting to a withdrawn role if that was what it would take to return. But in the end, for how long can he really hold on?
It’ll be sad that he leaves at the end of the current campaign, and may he find a club somewhere to enjoy his football again, we pray. If not, it could be the end to a career that could have been, of great memories, of glory, of potential Arsenal greatness.
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