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Diarra - I blanked Blues to join 'The Gunners'

Arsenal new-boy Lassana Diarra claims Arsenal were the only club he wanted to join once he’d decided to depart Stamford Bridge.

The classy defensive midfielder also told French football publication L'Equipe how he shunned Chelsea’s advances over a new contract to join Arsene Wenger’s collection of young stars at Emirates Stadium.

“Honestly, I believe the Chelsea officials thought I would crack and finally accept a contract extension, as my contract would have been up in 2008," he said.

"But I refused every extension and now I have signed a three-year deal with The Gunners. Chelsea finally accepted, maybe because they were scared I would leave for free in one year."

The 22-year-old was alleged to have been the target of several other clubs in the Premier League as well as his native France but spoke of the eleventh-hour phone call which signaled an end to his nightmare in west London.

"At 11pm on Friday night, I got a phone call to tell me I could start to negotiate with Arsenal as both clubs had found an agreement.

"I didn't hesitate because Arsenal was the only club I wanted to join. It was Arsenal or nothing. Other teams contacted me, but I knew what I wanted. Chelsea knew I wanted to join The Gunners."

Following William Gallas’ defection across the capital this time last year, another one of Chelsea’s first-team squad have seemingly grown disillusioned with the aerial version of the beautiful game currently so favoured by Jose Mourinho Blues and opted to jump ship.

But what do YOU make of the transfer? How do you rate Diarra? Are Chelsea becoming Arsenal’s feeder club? Let us know what you think in the comments section below.

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Posted by Mo Khan on September 4, 2007 in Transfers | Permalink

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