Abou Diaby is ‘one of the best players I’ve ever played with’, insists Gael Clichy

Abou Diaby, Portrait Session
Abou Diaby was plagued with injury problems (Picture: Getty)

Former Arsenal defender Gael Clichy insists Abou Diaby was destined for a great reign at the club but admits injury ‘changed his career’.

The Frenchman joined the club from Auxerre in 2006 and was a main stay in the side by the age of 22, with supporters and pundits alike noting his similarities to former Arsenal captain Patrick Vieira.

However, his early promise was curtailed when he sustained a horrific ankle fracture against Sunderland in May 2006.

Though Diaby returned and managed consecutive seasons with 20+ league appearances, injuries persisted and he was released in 2015 after making just 16 league appearances in the previous four seasons.

Newcastle United v Arsenal - Premier League
Diaby was furious with the challenge (Picture: Getty)

The scars of Diaby’s ankle injury stayed with him and the Frenchman was sent off in Arsenal’s 4-4 draw against Newcastle in 2011 after reacting angrily to a hefty challenge from Kevin Nolan.

Speaking about that game, Clichy says Diaby should have become a club legend but was never the same after the first injury.

‘I think that first injury when he broke his leg changed his career because he was without joke one of the best players I played with,’ Clichy told Premier League Productions.

‘His reaction after that challenge is not about who’s right and who’s wrong it’s just fearing that something will happen with his leg.

‘The rest is bad but I really believe because he’s such a nice guy but the history with the previous injury made him react like that’.

Diaby joined Marseille after his departure from Arsenal but his injury problems persisted.

He made just six appearances for the Ligue 1 giants before being released in 2017.

He subsequently announced his retirement at the age of 32.

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