Wenger rules out Diaby for Euro 2012
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has ruled out Abou Diaby for Euro 2012 due to injury.
The injury-plagued France international has missed the majority of the campaign due to ankle and hamstring problems yet appeared to be fit heading into the summer.
However, the former Auxerre man picked up a calf strain in Arsenal’s 1-1 draw against Stoke City last weekend and looks unlikely to feature again this season.
“Abou Diaby is not in the squad (to face Norwich on Saturday) and I think he’s unavailable for the Euros,” Wenger told RMC Sport.
“It would be unrealistic to think he can go to the European Championship. He has had no continuity this season. It’s unrealistic to imagine that he can play in six weeks at the Euros.”
Diaby has only made four appearances this season for the Gunners in all competitions.
Meanwhile, Wenger said Arsenal’s popularity in African countries ‘frightens’ him and admitted the scheduled pre-season tour to Nigeria is not for sporting reasons.
The Gunners have regularly travelled to the Far East in recent tours but will also visit Africa for the first time ahead of next season.
Wenger said that the Gunners have forfeited some of their pre-season training plans at their London base in order to fulfil their commercial responsibilities.
“We have had to compromise on the sporting side, because we had a rational, methodical approach to our pre-season,” the Frenchman told reporters.
“We have sacrificed some of that to go on tour.
“But we are in a race with the other clubs as well. I realised when I was at the World Cup in South Africa how popular a club like Arsenal is in Africa, especially in Nigeria. It is unbelievable.
“I was even frightened at some stage by how popular Arsenal is. In Kenya as well, it is absolutely unbelievable.”
The Gunners coach also confessed that in a summer with a major international tournament – in this case, Euro 2012 – an extended tour creates further problems.
“A tour has advantages and disadvantages, let’s be honest,” he said.
“The advantage, of course, is to get in touch with your fan base in Asia – when you travel out there you realise how big the Premier League is and how big your club is over there.
“We are looking forward to doing it again, but unfortunately in the European Championship years or the World Cup years, on the purely sports side you suffer a bit more because your players have just come back and have to travel again, so the preparation time will be short for them.
“But on purely fan-base it is very exciting.”