Archive for January 9th, 2006

Window Shopping #2: Vassiriki Diaby

6 comments January 9th, 2006

If one thing has been learnt from Arsenal’s topsy-turvy season, it is the value of a powerful, tough-tackling central midfielder. Since the departure of Patrick Vieira, Arsenal have been severely lacking in this department. If we are to overcome obstacles such as an FA Cup Fourth Round tie away at Bolton, it’s absolutely vital that we add some steel in the middle of the park.

Which is why many people’s eyes lit up when they read this – a story suggesting, admittedly agent-fuelled, suggesting Arsenal could be on the verge of capturing French U-19 International, Vassikiri Diaby.

My knowledge of the Auxerre midfielder was hardly noteworthy, so I began to look closely at his credentials. At 19 years of age, he has broken into an Auxerre first team that are flying high in the french Championnat. Admittedly, he does not play every game, but that is largely because Santini is worried about burning him out.

Many comparisons are already being made between Diaby and Liverpool’s central midfielder, Momo Sissoko. Sissoko was poached by Valencia from Auxerre right at the start of his career. Auxerre’s fans are determined not to let this happen again.

His agent tells us that “Wenger thinks he can be the new Vieira”. If true, Arsene is not alone in this opinion. After the U-19 European Championship win in which Diaby “orchestrated the midfield”, many journalists commented on the tall frenchman’s uncanny resemblance to Vieira. His tackling and passing are both said to be exemplary, and he shares he former Arsenal skipper’s capacity to pick up a booking or two.

However, whilst Diaby is a player so unlike both Fabregas and Flamini that he would doubtless represent a worthy investment, he still is lacking in one key area: experience. Whilst I’m always happy to see young talent arrive, especially if it includes seeing off Chelsea (and, I hear, Bayern Munich) for their signature, I still believe we require someone who knows the game back to front already, not a young pretender.

Still, the way things are going, any signings would be nice. Hopefully the next article I right will be about a definite new recruit, and not one based purely on speculation.

Happy Monday,


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