It has been over a year since the Frenchman last completed 90 minutes for the club in a competitive game but after a series of bad injuries, he is now back in full training and he looks set to start the Capital One Cup clash against Southampton.
Smith believes that the midfielder offers a compliment to Arsenal’s smaller, more technical midfielders and that if he can get over his injury he can be a big asset to the club.
Speaking to Sky Sports, he said:
Diaby has had a terrible run of injuries and he is a talented boy.
But I think Arsenal fans have almost forgotten about and lost patience with him to some extent. He is different to the small technical players they’ve got. He’s powerful; he can open those legs and get up and down the pitch. He had a little run of games last season and then he got injured.
He’s a top player and I think he can move to defensive midfield. He hasn’t had that run of games to bed himself into that position but this is maybe why Wenger hasn’t gone for this sort of player.
That holding player is the kind that fans are crying out for but I don’t think he’d dare to say publically that he was hoping for Diaby to do the job because he’s been let down by injuries so many times.
Injuries have crippled the midfielder’s chances of appearing regularly for his team since his early twenties and this significantly worsened last season, with the Frenchman only taking to the pitch for one game as a substitute against Norwich.
When the midfielder is at his best, he is unstoppable. He is one of the best box-to-box midfielders in Europe and manages to pull off satisfyingly physical performances with immense elegance. It is a shame that Arsenal fans haven’t been blessed with more opportunities to watch the lanky play-maker work his magic.
He has become something of a figure of ridicule due to his constant injury setbacks and he may have even been cast aside by many other clubs within the Premier League and not offered a new contract. However Wenger, who has a highly trusting relationship with his players, has stuck by the midfielder. If Diaby can overcome the odds and finally get an extended run of games under his belt, he would be an excellent asset to call upon and could challenge for a place in the club’s starting line up.
Can he make an impact for Arsenal this season? Share your thoughts in the comments below.