Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain has paid tribute to Abou Diaby after the French midfielder was officially released by Arsenal.

Diaby spent nine injury-plagued seasons at the club after he joined from Auxerre in 2006.

The 29-year-old made 124 league appearances for the Gunners over that period but never fully lived up to his immense potential as he suffered a staggering 42 injuries. Diaby has played just 16 times in the Premier League since 2011 and he made only one appearance in each of the past two seasons.

Manager Arsene Wenger has always spoken highly of the midfielder and he considers him one of the most talented players he has coached. And fellow Gunner Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain has echoed his manager’s views, admitting it is disappointing to see Diaby leave the club.

“Abou’s a massive talent,” Oxlade-Chamberlain told Arsenal Player. “He’s one of the best midfielders I’ve seen or even played with and, for a man of his stature and to be able to do some of the things he did with the ball, it was amazing to see at times. “Unfortunately he had a really tough time with injuries and you’ve got to feel for him because he worked so hard.

I’m sure a lot of players would have given up a long time before he has. He still hasn’t and he’s still working hard to get fit. “He’s a big character in our dressing room. Everyone respected him and his footballing ability that much that he was always part of the team at all times. 

"It’s sad to see him go but I had a chat with him yesterday and the reasons why he wanted to leave and get himself right made complete sense to me.

You’ve got to wish him all the the luck with that and I hope that he can get back to his best and push on with whatever he does. “He is one of the best players I’ve played with, you’ve just got to hope that he can stay fit.”...

11/7/15

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