by Lee Hurley

Abou Diaby has admitted that his medical problems played a big role when it came to deciding on which club to sign for.

The unlucky former Arsenal midfielder had been courted by a number of clubs, including West Brom, but, ultimately, opted for a return to France and a chance to restart his career with Marseille.

Everything that motivated my choice was to determine which club would best help me medically,” Diaby told the press in France.

“It was really my priority. I actually had other proposals. I was in very very advanced talks with West Bromwich.

The other clubs with whom I also discussed also offered me good conditions, but I found that Marseille was better.

“It’s still a big French club. I thought ‘Why not go back to France?’

Red Bulls Thierry Henry (L) talks with Arsenal's Abou Diaby after the friendly match between Arsenal and the New York Red Bulls July 26, 2014, 2014 at Red Bulls Arena in Harrison, New Jersey. AFP PHOTO/Don Emmert
Red Bulls Thierry Henry (L) talks with Arsenal’s Abou Diaby after the friendly match between Arsenal and the New York Red Bulls July 26, 2014, 2014 at Red Bulls Arena in Harrison, New Jersey. AFP PHOTO/Don Emmert

Diaby (I forget I can’t call him ‘the Arsenal man’ any more’) never quite recovered from a number of horror tackles, the most infamous being Dan Smith’s not long after he arrived at the club as a youngster. Given every chance by Arsene Wenger to show that he could stay fit, it was another disgusting tackle on the same ankle by Michael Essien that really did for him.

Since then he has probably had more operations than Premier League appearances.

“I must find a good physical level that allows me to play and be efficient in order to get in the team and help it achieve its objectives this season,” he continued. When you’re football player, you have the Euros, which is played in France, you necessarily want to go. But today I want to have a different approach. I want to go slowly, get there gradually. [Let] things come naturally.”

Let’s hope Marseille really can help him stay fit. In football, there is no such thing as ‘deserves’ but this is as close as you’re ever likely to get.

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Writer. Feminist. Dreamer. Gooner. Owner of DailyCannon.com, writing about Arsenal since 2008. Sometimes found in the Guardian, Vice.com & elsewhere talking queer issues, politics & football. If in doubt, assume sarcasm.