Arsenal to look in-house for Abou Diaby replacement
Arsenal opinion: Gunners can look from within to replace long-term absentee, Abou Diaby
After being ruled out for up to nine months with a knee injury, is Abou Diaby's time at Arsenal up? And if so, do the Gunners really need to buy a replacement?
Since suffering a severe ankle fracture in May 2006, following an appalling challenge by Sunderland's Dan Smith, Diaby has struggled with injuries, making just five appearances in the 2011/12 season, and despite the sale of Alex Song to Barcelona offering Diaby another chance, injury struck again during Arsenal's 2-1 defeat to Chelsea.
There has never been any doubting of Diaby's quality, even producing a man-of-the-match performance early in the season vs. Liverpool, however with this latest setback, it looks as if Arsenal will need a replacement of some sort.
However, do they need to buy one? After being heavily linked with Toulouse's Etienne Capoue and a swoop to re-sign Alex Song from Barcelona, you could argue that Arsenal already have players ready to step up to the plate.
Mikel Arteta has tended to start in the defensive role this season, intercepting and reading the game more than being an enforcer, with Aaron Ramsey also playing well in this role, such as in the 5-1 win against West Ham.
However, the two more naturally-defensive players are Francis Coquelin and Emmanuel Frimpong. Coquelin has put in some very impressive displays since his breakthrough, both starting at right-back, and also in the midfield - his passing and awareness has been excellent while his defensive qualities have also shone through.
For the last few months, he has been struggling to get into the side, with Wenger preferring the likes of Wilshere, Ramsey and Diaby himself - however, this could be the chance that he has been waiting for.
Frimpong faces an uncertain Arsenal future, with many suggesting that he could be sold at the end of the season, or spend another spell out on loan. However, if Arsenal do need an enforcer, Frimpong could be just that.
Often compared to Song at this age, Frimpong has a powerful shot, is a tough tackler and has good awareness of those around him, and his seeming passion whilst playing has made him a fan favourite. However, he needs to work on his discipline, as was shown when he was shown a red-card on his debut in the 2011/12 season against Liverpool.
There are also many young players making their way up the ranks, such as Yennaris, Ebecilio, and Eisfeld - do Arsenal really need to buy another central-midfielder?
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