Abou Diaby is one player in particular who could never quite live up to expectation at Arsenal due to the lengthy, agonising spells he spent toiling on the physio's bed, though despite his injury ridden career at the Gunners - which spanned from January 2006 to July 2015 - the Frenchman claims that the club's longstanding boss Arsene Wenger 'believed' in him, an invested faith that the current free agent will never be able to 'thank' 'Le Prof' enough for, especially in times of disparity on the sidelines.
Joining the north-Londoners at the turn of 2006 from Ligue 1 outfit Auxerre, Diaby was presumably drafted in as Patrick Vieira's natural successor in the heart of the midfield, with his grace on the ball and his overall demonstrative presence in the centre of the park being the obvious like-for-like comparisons between the two after his fellow countryman departed Wenger's side to join Juventus in the summer of 2005, although successfully filling 'Paddy's' influential void was simply not to be.
In those years spent at the Emirates, Diaby, now 31-years-old, only managed to muster 180 competitive appearances for Arsenal, and whilst many a manager could have labelled him a lost cause as he struggled with injury, Wenger remained 'patient', an attitude which supposedly gave Diaby hope of a first-team return upon recovery.
“He is someone who is able to understand the personality of his players and uses that to make them successful. The players then feel good. The most important thing for me was that he believed in me.
"He is someone who understood me. He is someone who was enormously patient with me. Things started well but afterwards I had injuries and problems etc.
"But he always there for me. I will never be able to thank him enough for what he did for me”, he said glowingly to SFR Sport, via Get French Football.
Diaby was contracted to Olympique de Marseille until he was released by 'Les Phocéens' in the summer and is suffering through ankle problems presently.
But if he is to finally shake his debilitating injury curse, perhaps there's a manager out there in the game who would offer Diaby the same 'understanding' that Wenger once gifted him, as no football fan would truly want to see him hang his boots up early having barely worn them throughout his broken, somewhat tragic career.