By Rob Kelly in Kuala Lumpur
Arsène Wenger says the Club’s tour of the Far East is a crucial step for Abou Diaby in proving his fitness ahead of the new season.
The midfielder is part of the 24-man squad that will take part in matches, training sessions and events in Kuala Lumpur, Beijing and Hong Kong.
And after being restricted to just two first-team appearances last term due to persistent injury problems, Diaby now has a chance to demonstrate his readiness for the 2012/13 campaign.
“You can't imagine how happy I am firstly to have him in the squad, because he is an exceptional player,” Wenger said. “I am cautious but confident because he had two hard weeks and came through it well.
“This tour is another decider for him. He will play on Tuesday night and now it is down to uncontrolled movement in games: how does your body react to that? I am confident with what I have seen in training that he will do it.
“He is the first player who would be on the France teamsheet in midfield when he is fit. Laurant Blanc said that before the European Championship and he waited a very long time to know if he could play or not. But he couldn't.”
Wenger also dismissed talk of a move for Yann M’Vila and said he is already well stocked in midfield.
“No [I am not interested]. We wait on Diaby and Wilshere,” he said. “When you look we have Song, Ramsey, Coquelin, Wilshere, Arteta and Diaby.
“In defensive midfielders and box-to-box players we are not short if they are all coming back. If we have setbacks in pre-season it could be different.”Copyright 2013 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.arsenal.com as the source 23 Jul 2012