Despite playing just 67 minutes of soccer during the 2014-15 season and his current contract running out this summer, Abou Diaby could well be handed a new contract at Arsenal.
[ RELATED: Walcott denies “bust-up” with Wenger ]
The French midfielder, 28, has been with the Gunners for over nine years but ever since badly breaking his ankle in 2006, he has suffered a string of injuries which has seen him play just twice in the past two seasons.
Ahead of Arsenal’s huge game with Liverpool on Saturday (Watch live, 7:45 a.m. ET on NBCSN and online via Live Extra) Diaby is back in training and his boss Arsene Wenger revealed that the midfielder could be offered a new deal to remain at the Emirates Stadium.
“I had a chat with him and told him how I can envisage the future,” Wenger said. “He has to make a decision. 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.”
The Diaby dilemma is an intriguing one. His list of injuries is horrific and you have to question whether he can ever truly get back to the level he displayed in his early Arsenal days after arriving from Auxerre. Yet if he can, and Wenger obviously believes this otherwise talk of a new deal would not be on the table, then Diaby would provide the Gunners with the added steel they’ve been screaming out for in central midfield. He is 6 foot 4 inches tall, has an incredible engine on him and can play in a variety of positions in midfield. However he will most likely play in the holding role as and when he returns to the team and Wenger should give him a good run of games in the final eight matches of the season as Diaby provides something the Gunners do not currently possess: a destructive midfielder who can shield the back four and help spring attacks.
If Diaby proves his fitness, then signing him to a new deal would be much cheaper than going out and buying Morgan Schneiderlin (likely to cost upwards of $30 million) to play in the holding midfield role. Arsenal’s frugality is a thing of the past but when you have an international caliber midfielder at the club and you’ve stuck by him throughout horrendous bad luck with injuries, surely you have to offer him at least a new one-year deal to prove his worth next season?