Wednesday, 2 April 2014

Vermaelen wants Wenger stay -French defender keen on Arsenal move -Diaby's back!

Morning Gooners.

The players will return to training this morning after a couple of days off. And among the group will be Abou Diaby for the first time this season. The Frenchman hasn't played competitive football since playing 71 minutes against Swansea last season. His campaign was over when he suffered a serious cruciate knee ligament injury.

The 27-year-old has undertaken lots of rehabilitation work to get him to the stage where he is able to get back out on the training ground pitches. But he won't be ready for first team action this weekend. As we've seen already this season, Arsene Wenger has played it safe when reintroducing players into the first team squad.

Theo Walcott had a spell on the bench before being unleashed in his first start after injury against Manchester City in the game at Middle Eastlands and Lucas Podolski didn't come back straight into the team following his hamstring injury sustained at Fulham. He too had to settle for a place on the bench until he got his chance.

Diaby has got to get used to the competitive nature of football. Normally the club would arrange a number of behind closed doors matches at the training ground in order to give injured players a run out, out of the gaze of the media. But it could be that with it being so late in the season, we might not see Diaby pull on an Arsenal shirt ever again.

I think the manager has planned to be without him and it would be a nice surprise for Wenger if he had the option to call on the midfielder in any of our remaining six league games. When he's on his game, Diaby remains one of the best midfielders in the league. It's just a shame we've been unable to see that for a sustained period.

Meanwhile captain Thomas Vermaelen has been talking about the manager's contract situation

Vermaelen said:
"Everybody wants him to stay as long as he can. He’s been incredible what he’s done for this club, and for the players as well. We would be really happy for him signing on for a few more years. 
"The spirit is unbelievable in the team. We’ve worked a lot on our team shape and everybody knows their role in the team, everybody’s working for each other and that’s because there is a great team spirit. That’s the great improvement for us this season. 
"It is just the hunger in the team. Of course it was there before but the spirit is great and you can see us fighting for each other really hard."
With the Belgium international's own Arsenal future in the balance - he will have just a year remaining on his contact come the summer - it is not unsurprising he wants Wenger to stay. You're unlikely to go public on the fact you want your boss to leave, are you?

Vermaelen is being genuine in his hope Wenger will stay. Despite being left out of the team for much of the season, the defender has been a model professional about the situation. He knows that the manager would not split up the Per Mertesacker and Laurent Koscielny partnership because it was achieving results. So he's had to bide his time for his chance and it's come with the Frenchman's injury.

And since coming back into the team, Vermaelen has done little wrong. He could be blamed for the first Swansea goal, but I think the first error - not cutting out the cross - was more criminal than Vermaelen being beaten in the air by Wilfried Bony.

Around the club the atmosphere has been the best it's been in a long time. And that has to do with Vermaelen's captaincy. You can see that these players really get on and are prepared to fight and work for one another, a trait which has been missing at times in recent seasons.

There has been talk that the Gunners captain could be tempted with a contract extension and he will sit down with Wenger once the season is over to discuss his future. You would imagine that he would rather be playing first team football at this stage of his career and with Mertesacker and Kosicelny ahead of him in Wenger's eyes, there will be very few chances to do that next season as well.

Personally I'd like him to stay. I doubt there are very many third choice central defenders out there with Vermaelen's experience.

Alternatively, Younes Kaboul could be interested in a move across north London when his contract at Spurs expires in the summer according to the Daily Star. If that did happen, it feels a very Mikael Silvestre kind of move to me.

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