When Abou Diaby arrived from Auxerre in January 2006, comparisons to Patrick Viera were only natural and it seemed Arsenal had found a long-term replacement for the Arsenal legend who had left six months earlier.
Although the midfielder didn’t quite have the same impact as his predecessor due to a catalogue of injuries, Diaby was a member of Arsene Wenger’s squad for nine years before leaving for Marseille in 2015 - the team he had supported growing up.
After impressing in his first few months at the club, the midfielder’s debut season ended badly when he suffered a severe ankle injury in May against Sunderland. The Frenchman underwent three separate surgeries to repair the damage and after eight months of rehabilitation, returned the following season.
When Diaby was fit, he was an elegant player who looked built for the Premier League. His tall frame and athletic build made him an ideal box-to-box midfielder, comfortable both in attack and and defence.
One of Abou's most memorable moments will be his wonder strike against Derby in 2007, when he cut inside and hammered a fierce shot into the top corner right in front of the Clock End, while a man-of-the-match display against Liverpool in 2012 reminded everyone of his vast talent.
Ultimately though, a string of serious injuries severely curtailed his playing time and he only managed 125 appearances in a nine-year spell in north London before returning to France to join Marseille.