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Monday, August 2, 1999 Published at 12:32 GMT 13:32 UK

Anelka: The story so far ...

Nicolas Anelka: May have burned his bridges with the Highbury fans

The transfer saga of Nicolas Anelka has dragged on through the summer with claims and counter-claims on a daily basis.

Here BBC News Online plots the course of Anelka's so-far failed attempt to leave Arsenal.

May 7: Marseille claim that Anelka will not stop phoning them over a possible move to France.

Marcel Dib, sporting director of the UEFA Cup finalists, said: "He doesn't stop phoning. He's put the ball into our court."

May 13: Anelka's agents hold talks with Spain's former European champions Real Madrid.

May 18: Anelka cites the English media as another reason he wants to leave the English game.

"The one thing I can tell you is that I can't stand the English Press, who cause me enormous problems on a personal level," Anelka storms.

May 19: Anelka's brother and agent, Claude, guarantees that Nicolas will stay at Highbury next season.

"His future is still at Arsenal. He will be with the club next year, I can guarantee that," Claude says.

May 29: Juventus refuse to deny reports that they are set to open talks with Anelka.

June 4: Wenger calls for a FIFA investigation into "illegal" approaches by Real Madrid to Anelka.

"The player has a four-year contract, and any direct approach to the player is illegal," Wenger insists.

June 17: Italian club Lazio are reported to be in talks with Arsenal for Anelka's services and a fee of 22m is mooted.

June 18: Arsenal are told by Anelka's brothers that any negotiations by Lazio were "useless" because the Frenchman was holding out for a move to Real Madrid.

June 22: Arsenal vow to retain Anelka's services. A club spokesman says: "In the light of recent media reports, Arsenal FC would like to stress that it is our wish to retain the services of Nicolas Anelka.

"On Nicolas' impending return from holiday the situation regarding his future at Arsenal FC will be discussed and resolved."

June 23: Lazio refuse to give up the chase and are adamant the deal is not dead.

"The situation is positive for Lazio and the negotiations are very open, I am optimistic he is coming to Rome," Lazio agent Vicenzo Morabito says.

June 29: Anelka issues clearest indication yet that he wants out of Highbury. "My priority is to join Real Madrid but if that does not work out why not Lazio? I prefer that than to return to Arsenal," Anelka says.

Anelka underlines his desire by firing a broadside at Arsenal over "illegal approaches".'

"All the clubs do that. Arsenal did the same thing with me to get me to leave Paris St Germain," he snipes.

July 1: Lazio insist that they will play fair with Arsenal over Anelka. "What is important is that Lazio are waiting for a call from Mr (David) Dein to sit down and negotiate," Lazio's official agent Morabito says.

July 2: Anelka threatens strike action if Arsenal try to block his move to Lazio.

"Arsenal must hurry if they want to conclude a deal - if not Nicolas will stay a year without playing. That's no problem," Anelka's agent and brother, Claude says.

July 4: Anelka announces that he has no intention of ever returning to Arsenal.

"It's impossible for me to stay in England. With Arsenal, I've finished for ever," Anelka says.

July 5: Lazio chairman Sergio Cragnotti arrives in London in a bid to finalise a deal.

July 6: Lazio tempt Arsenal with 20m plus proposal for Anelka.

July 10: Lazio set a deadline for the signature of Anelka or the deal is off.

"The English club has until noon Monday to reply, otherwise we will try and conclude another transfer," Lazio president Sergio Cragnotti says.

July 25: Lazio agree 22m fee with Arsenal but ask Anelka to cut his wage demands by 4m to 14m over five years.

July 27: Arsenal set noon deadline for Anelka to agree deal or return to Highbury. When this passes, the Gunners withdraw their offer to sell him to either Lazio or Juventus and insist he returns for pre-season training.

July 28: Lazio slam the door on the transfer, blaming Arsenal for the "madness" of asking 23m for a 20-year-old. And from Paris, Anelka describes as "comical" Arsenal's attempt to bring him back for pre-season training.

July 30:Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger says he is "99% sure" Anelka will not play for the club again.

July 31: The transfer saga is blown open once again when Real Madrid - Anelka's first choice destination - re-open negotiations with Arsenal.

August 1: Anelka looks bound for Madrid, as Real agree a 23.5m fee with the Gunners. After Arsenal's Charity Shield success, Wenger confirms the Real Madrid offer has been accepted - and personal terms are now being thrashed out.

August 2: Anelka's advisor announces that the player has signed a seven-year contract with the Spanish club.

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