Abou Diaby could be offered a new contract following a successful run-out in the Arsenal reserves earlier this week.
The Frenchman has been incredibly unlucky throughout his career, plagued with a succession of injuries following an atrocious tackle by Sunderland’s Dan Smith in 2006 which shattered his ankle.
Diaby has made just one appearance this season in the Capital One Cup and only 19 since 2011, with his inability to maintain fitness causing Wenger to concede late last year that the Frenchman could be allowed to leave when his contract expires in June.
“His injuries are never severe but little grade one tears. He is not available yet. If Diaby is fully fit, he will have a new deal at Arsenal,” the Arsenal boss was quoted as saying in December to Daily Mail.
However, following a return to action on Tuesday, in which Diaby starred in a 4-0 reserve win against Brentford, Wenger hinted there was potentially an agreement between the club and the midfielder over a new deal but was coy on the specific details.
“I had a chat with him and told him how I can envisage the future. He has to make a decision,” said the Arsenal boss in his pre-Liverpool press conference, as reported by London Evening Standard.
“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.”
If Diaby were to get a new contract, something performance based might be the best course of action as no matter how sentimental the club are to his plight, it’s simply unsustainable to give a player whose presence you can’t bank on a lucrative new deal.
An agreement that would see the 28-year-old paid per-appearance would both provide the club financial security in that they wouldn’t have to pay a consistently absent player, and would also allow Diaby access to the vast array of fitness equipment, services and personnel with which to, hopefully, gain and maintain full fitness and reboot his career.
The idea he could be earning such a large weekly wage is enough to frustrate some fans, but it need be remembered that Diaby isn’t injuring himself on purpose and has done everything in his power to get out on the field of play and that he wants to be a success for Arsenal.
This isn’t a Bendtner situation – he isn’t simply collecting his wages and watching his contract roll down.
With so much of his career decimated by an unnecessary challenge from a reckless player, Diaby deserves at least some luck and help during his final playing years as well a some aid and understanding from both club and supporters.