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Last Updated: Friday, 13 January 2006, 13:01 GMT
Arsenal complete signing of Diaby
Auxerre's Vasiriki Abou Diaby has signed a four-year deal with Arsenal after rejecting advances from Chelsea.

Arsenal have sealed a move, thought to be for 2m, for the 19-year-old who held talks with Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho as well as Arsene Wenger.

Auxerre vice-president Gerard Bourgoin said Diaby met officials from both clubs in London on Wednesday and said: "The choice belonged to Diaby.

"But Arsene Wenger was better than Jose Mourinho, that's all."

Arsenal boss Wenger said: "He is a strong midfielder and has shown huge potential during his time at Auxerre.

"He will be a tremendous addition to our squad."

And Diaby added: "I am so happy to have signed for Arsenal.

"The club has great history and a squad which is full of high quality players. I'm looking forward to a successful career here."

Auxerre chief Bourgoin claimed Diaby, who has made three first-team appearances for Auxerre this season, was being sold as he is surplus to requirements at the Abbe-Deschamps.

"We have always kept the young players which our coach wanted to use. But Diaby did not play, so this was a strategic sale for us."

Auxerre coach Jacques Santini, however, seemed disappointed to be losing another player after striker Benjani Mwaruwari moved to Portsmouth last week.

"My players sell. After Benjani and Diaby, I should maybe expect some more departures," said the former France and Tottenham coach.

"Abou was one of the players I used at the start of the season and then he had to stop because of repetitive injuries.

"Maybe he was attracted by England and the money there. This probably did not force him to make all the necessary efforts to come back to his best level with us."


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