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Last Updated: Friday, 1 September 2006, 00:56 GMT 01:56 UK
Blues beat deadline to sign Cole
Ashley Cole
Cole's deal just went through before the midnight deadline
Chelsea have ended a long-running saga by signing England full-back Ashley Cole from Arsenal in exchange for 5m and France defender William Gallas.

The deal was completed just before the transfer deadline with Cole, who was with the England squad in a Manchester hotel, having his medical nearby.

Cole, 25, is understood to have signed a five-year deal.

The 29-year-old Gallas had one year left on his contract but made it clear he wanted to leave Stamford Bridge.

The versatile French international did not turn up to pre-season training on Chelsea's pre-season tour of the United States and did not receive a shirt number this season.

He had reportedly been unhappy at the terms Chelsea offered him in a four-year contract extension, and wanted to establish himself at centre-back.

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Neither player has featured for his previous club this season, and both are eligible to play in the Champions League for their new teams.

Chelsea had been linked with Cole - who had two years left to run on his contact with Arsenal - all summer, but disagreements over the transfer fee stalled the move.

A joint statement from the clubs said: "Chelsea FC and Arsenal have agreed terms for the transfers of Ashley Cole and William Gallas.

"Chelsea will also pay Arsenal 5m. Both players have agreed personal terms and passed their respective medicals."

Although all the relevant paperwork had been lodged with the Premier League, neither club had made an announcement by the time the midnight deadline passed.

It was not until 0125 BST on Friday that the statement was finally issued.

Gallas, a 6m signing from Marseille, made more than 200 appearances for Chelsea in five years, while Cole made 228 appearances for the Gunners since making his debut in 2000.

Cole has won 51 England caps, with Gallas earning 44 caps for France.

SEE ALSO
Deadline deals as they happened
01 Sep 06 |  Football
Gallas still wants Chelsea exit
17 Aug 06 |  Chelsea
Wenger denies rejecting Cole bid
19 Aug 06 |  Arsenal
Henry fears over Cole departure
09 Aug 06 |  Arsenal
Cole signs new deal with Arsenal
18 Jul 05 |  Arsenal
Chelsea, Mourinho and Cole fined
01 Jun 05 |  Premiership


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