Djourou finds silver lining in Arsenal failure

Johan Djourou is one of few Arsenal players who will look back at this season as a success after putting his year-long injury nightmare behind him. Switzerland defender Djourou missed virtually the whole of last term and the World Cup after undergoing surgery on a serious knee problem.

With the 24-year-old having been out for so long, manager Arsène Wenger was keen to ease him back into action this season.

But with Thomas Vermaelen having been sidelined since September and new signings Sébastien Squillaci and Laurent Koscielny also suffering problems with fitness and form, Djourou has found himself thrown in at the deep end.

It looked like being a memorable campaign for everyone at Arsenal when the club were competing on four fronts two months ago.

The dramatic unravelling of their quadruple quest means it cannot come to an end quickly enough for many of their players.

But, for Djourou, simply becoming a first-team regular after what he has been through is reason enough to celebrate.

He told Arsenal TV Online: "That's what you want to achieve, to be consistent and playing every game. That's what happening at the moment so I'm very happy.

"It was a hard season last season. Why it's even greater is that things turned out that quickly. Because, you never know, a guy can come back from injury and not be the same. In my case, I think I came back stronger."

Djourou has started 32 games in all competitions this season but has not lost the tingle of excitement of running out on to the field in front of tens of thousands of supporters.

"Every time you walk on the pitch, you have that adrenaline in you that say, 'That's it – it's your time'," he said.

"It's a really special feeling to see all those people coming to watch you and support you. I know a lot of people who'd like to have that in their lives."

Djourou very much looks like the future of Arsenal, who must decide this summer precisely how they react to a sixth successive season without silverware.

Several underperforming players have been linked with moves away from the Emirates Stadium, including Gaël Clichy, Nicklas Bendtner, Emmanuel Eboué, Denilson, Tomas Rosicky and Manuel Almunia.

Another is Andrey Arshavin, who would be welcome back at Zenit St Petersburg if Wenger decides to sell the striker.

Arsenal bought Arshavin for around £15m just over two years ago and the Russian star enjoyed a promising start to life in London.

But he has been inconsistent this term, scoring just six times in 34 Premier League appearances, and there have also been reports he is unsettled. Now Zenit have suggested they could be ready to bring him back to Russia if given any encouragement to do so.

Their sporting director Igor Korneev told TalkSport: "Zenit's doors are always open for Andrey.

"If his situation at Arsenal does not improve and he's not comfortable in London, we can study this issue in time for next season."

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

The long walk west: they fled war in Syria, only to get held up in Hungary – now hundreds of refugees have set off on foot for Austria

They fled war in Syria...

...only to get stuck and sidetracked in Hungary
From The Prisoner to Mad Men, elaborate title sequences are one of the keys to a great TV series

Title sequences: From The Prisoner to Mad Men

Elaborate title sequences are one of the keys to a great TV series. But why does the art form have such a chequered history?
Giorgio Armani Beauty's fabric-inspired foundations: Get back to basics this autumn

Giorgio Armani Beauty's foundations

Sumptuous fabrics meet luscious cosmetics for this elegant look
From stowaways to Operation Stack: Life in a transcontinental lorry cab

Life from the inside of a trucker's cab

From stowaways to Operation Stack, it's a challenging time to be a trucker heading to and from the Continent
Kelis interview: The songwriter and sauce-maker on cooking for Pharrell and crying over potatoes

Kelis interview

The singer and sauce-maker on cooking for Pharrell
Refugee crisis: David Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia - will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi?

Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia...

But will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi, asks Robert Fisk
Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Humanity must be at the heart of politics, says Jeremy Corbyn
Joe Biden's 'tease tour': Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?

Joe Biden's 'tease tour'

Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?
Britain's 24-hour culture: With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever

Britain's 24-hour culture

With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever
Diplomacy board game: Treachery is the way to win - which makes it just like the real thing

The addictive nature of Diplomacy

Bullying, betrayal, aggression – it may be just a board game, but the family that plays Diplomacy may never look at each other in the same way again
Lady Chatterley's Lover: Racy underwear for fans of DH Lawrence's equally racy tome

Fashion: Ooh, Lady Chatterley!

Take inspiration from DH Lawrence's racy tome with equally racy underwear
8 best children's clocks

Tick-tock: 8 best children's clocks

Whether you’re teaching them to tell the time or putting the finishing touches to a nursery, there’s a ticker for that
Charlie Austin: Queens Park Rangers striker says ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

Charlie Austin: ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

After hitting 18 goals in the Premier League last season, the QPR striker was the great non-deal of transfer deadline day. But he says he'd preferred another shot at promotion
Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea