Abou Diaby looked the prime candidate to step into the midfield void, but the Frenchman is facing around a month on the sidelines because of a thigh injury. Perhaps even if he is the ultimate holding midfielder, his duration for the season is limited. Alex Song, another defensive midfield option, seems to take further time to establish his place in the side, as he has chosen to play in the Olympic Games rather.
But Wenger is now certain he has seen enough to merit selecting a Denilson/Fabregas combination just like he did after seeing Mathieu Flamini impress last year.
Denilson has shown much reliable defensive structure this preseason – audacious on tackles and confident to win balls while dropping back just infront of the defense. It looks as though Diaby who was tipped by many to replace Flamini, has began another injury plagued campaign already, as he has been ruled out of the first few games.
“Diaby will not be available for the start of the season, so we will have to work on some things which I saw on Friday night. It worked well with Denilson and Fabregas,” said the Arsenal manager” Wenger confirmed his absence.
“You cannot say after just one match, you need a run of games to see if it [partnership] will work, but I am confident it will.”
The boss also maintains he has funds available to strengthen the squad should he choose. However, any moves – which may or may not include Udinese’s £8million-rated Gokhan Inler or Gareth Barry and Liverpool’s Xabi Alonso, perhaps even Yaya Toure, – will now be put on hold until next week’s game is over.
He said: “We are a body short, but it is not necessarily to play alongside Cesc. He can play alongside anybody.”We try to find the right player. My target is always to spend the right money on the right player, therefore the timing on your buy is also important as well,” he said.
“I do not know yet if it will be with the Swiss or somebody else – but it is not necessarily the Swiss boy, though.”
On paper, Arsenal possesses numerous midfielders, but few are “no nonsense” tacklers, but Wenger, however, feels there is a good depth in the side when healthy.
“Do not forget we have Diaby, who is not available, [Alex] Song who is at the Olympics. He is a very good midfielder. We have Nasri and [Tomas] Rosicky, who were not in Amsterdam, [Amaury] Bischoff as well, so we have plenty of midfield players.”