Diaby hails Arteta influence on return to Arsenal action

The 26-year-old central midfielder has been plagued by injury in recent times but has targeted a regular role over the coming campaign after battling back to full fitness
Arsenal midfielder Abou Diaby has stated that he believes team-mate Mikel Arteta will be a key player for the club next season and that he is looking forward to playing alongside the Spaniard.

Diaby spent most of last season out through injury, going on to make just five league appearances all campaign, but after a incident-free pre-season, he is raring to go, with Arteta coming in for some praise in the process.

"Mikel is a great player and he showed last season that he is a very important player in our team. I am looking forward to playing next to him," Diaby told Arsenal's official website.

"I personally prefer to play with three midfielders because I can go forward and I can also defend. I think it is the position that will suit me the best."

12/1 Arsenal are 12/1 to win the 2012-13 Premier League with bet365

With the news that Jack Wilshere has been ruled out with injury until at least October, Diaby could be asked to perform a key role over the next few months, and he believes the wealth of options currently at manager Arsene Wenger's disposal bodes well for the side.

"Of course the midfield is different now because we are all different," he added.

"The most important thing is to bring out singularities into the team to make it better. If we have a mix of all that, it can be a very good thing."

The 26 year-old Frenchman will be hoping to play some part as Arsenal kick off their new league campaign with a home fixture on August 18th against Martin O'Neill's Sunderland side.