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Last Updated: Friday, 1 September 2006, 16:35 GMT 17:35 UK
Wenger relief at end of Cole saga
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger
Wenger is happy to be rid of transfer distractions
Arsene Wenger is relieved the Ashley Cole transfer saga has been put to bed.

"It was a big day, it dragged on for a long time and the positive thing is it is finally over," said the Arsenal manager after selling Cole to Chelsea.

The deadline day deal saw the Gunners land versatile defender William Gallas and 5m in exchange for the left-back.

"It's good to have everybody focused on the main target which is to play good football and respond to the ambitions of Arsenal," Wenger added.

"It was the wish of Ashley Cole to go to Chelsea and of William Gallas to come to us. I'm relieved it has happened."

The on-off saga of the England international's move to the Premiership champions has dragged on throughout the summer.

Pleas from Jose Antonio Reyes to be allowed to return to Spain have also overshadowed much of Arsenal's build-up to the season.

The Spaniard, like Cole, got the move he had been angling for by tieing up a loan deal with Real Madrid on the final day of the summer transfer window.

But Wenger insisted the desire of Cole and Reyes to leave the club had not been responsible for his team's unconvincing start to the season.

"For me it was not too much of a distraction but you want things to be sorted out and it's more disturbing on the outside because everyone was asking the same question," Wenger added.

Baptista will bring power in the air and score goals

Arsene Wenger

"I would not say it affected our performances which have been more down to a lack of preparation after the World Cup and so many players still recovering."

Following a draw and a loss in their opening two games, Wenger now wants his squad to get down to the business of winning matches when they return from the international break.

And as well as the arrival of 29-year-old Gallas, who will add much-needed experience to the defence, Julio Baptista will add a physical presence to Wenger's team having come in the swap deal that saw Reyes go to Real.

"Reyes brought a lot but he wanted to go and Baptista will bring power in the air and score goals," Wenger said of the 24-year-old Brazilian.

"I can use him either up front or as a hanging attacking midfielder.

"We'll see how the swap works but I'm confident it will work well because Baptista is quick, strong and a team player."

Reaction to deadline day deals
01 Sep 06 |  Premiership
Hammers' jackpot
01 Sep 06 |  Football
Blues beat deadline to sign Cole
01 Sep 06 |  Premiership
Arsenal swap Reyes for Baptista
31 Aug 06 |  Arsenal


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