Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger has revealed his remorse over the departure of Abou Diaby, insisting that the midfielder was the closest thing to Patrick Vieira the club have had since the Frenchman’s time in north London.
Diaby was this summer released by the club after failing to prove that he would ever return to full-fitness, having been dogged by injuries for the last few years.
However the decision to let him go was not one that Wenger took lightly, nor one that he can look back on accept easily.
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The legendary Arsenal boss told his club’s official website that Diaby was similar to Vieira, and described cutting him loose as one of the saddest moments he’s had at the Gunners.
He was the closest to Patrick Vieira we have seen here,” Wenger commented.
“With even a good offensive potential and in France he’s regarded highly because every time he played in the French national team he made the difference.
“It’s one of the saddest moments for us at Arsenal.”
Whether or not Diaby would have ever had the same impact with Arsenal that Vieira did is a question to be debated over lunchtime pints and campfires, but the fact remains that the Gunners never managed to unlock his true potential simply because he couldn’t stay fit.
Unlucky for Diaby
In one of the worst cases of ‘what might have been’ the Premier League has ever witnessed, Arsenal fans will be left to talk about the possibility knowing that they’ll never have a proper answer.
If Wenger’s estimates about the player are true then he could have been a difference-maker, though that task now falls onto someone else’s shoulders.
Strengthening the midfield
Indeed reinforcing the middle of the park is something Wenger has been hotly linked with doing in the coming weeks.
Southampton’s Morgan Schneiderlin is one name on the supposed hit-list, although he could also join Manchester United, whilst Arturo Vidal and William Carvalho are others who the Frenchman might attempt to buy.
Arsenal fans, just how good could Diaby have been? Let us know what you think in the comments box below.