Date:Monday September 3 2007
Arsenal new boy, Lassna Diarra, claims he knocked back every Chelsea contract offer and says he only wanted to play for Arsenal.
Arsenal snatched the 22 year old Frenchman from the Premeriship Champi......sorry, from the Premiership runners up despite the Blues best attempts persuade the midfielder to sign a contract extension.
We were led to believe that Diarra was not needed at Stamford Bridge, however the current poll on Vital Chelsea will tell you different, but it wasn't until the final hour of the transfer window that Lassana was made aware of the Gunners interest.
Work had been going on behind the scenes to come to an agreement for the player after Chelsea accepted that he was not going to sign a new deal.
Rather than lose Diarra on a free transfer next summer, the boys from the bridge agreed to deal.
'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,' Diarra told L'Equipe.
'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.'
'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,' he said.
'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.'
We look forward to seeing Lassana in action, which could be sooner than he anticipated. With the Sending off of Senderos only leaving us with one available centre back, Diarra could be given a baptism of fire with the possibility of Gilberto moving to the centre of defence for the North London derby.
Date:Monday September 3 2007
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