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I snubbed Chelsea - Diaby

6 October 2010 19:38

(GSM) - Arsenal midfielder Abou Diaby claims he snubbed Chelsea in favor of signing for the Gunners in 2005.

Diaby was a teenager at Auxerre when he caught the eyes of scouts and soon after a host of top European clubs were in the race to secure his services.

And the strong French anchorman claims that he rebuffed the advances of Premier League champions Chelsea, opting to join Arsenal instead.

Diaby says the major factor for his eventual move to the club managed by compatriot Arsène Wenger was the prospect of being a first-team regular in the near future.

"Did Chelsea try to sign me in 2005? Yes, but it was very complex," the 24-year-old told L'Equipe.

"I visited the facilities but when I was there I had a chat with Lassana Diarra and he told me: 'Abou, I have not played for three months'. That made me hesitate.

"I even had a chat with José Mourinho. He was very frank and told me: 'I have a big team, with big players and I can't guarantee you anything, but we do want you'.

"Meanwhile, Arsène Wenger told me that he was looking for a midfielder to replace (Patrick) Vieira, that I had the same profile and that I would play.

"Also, at that time, Arsenal had the French connection. Robert Pires and Thierry Henry were there, and that makes you dream.

"There were choices to make and Arsenal wanted me. They seemed exciting to me.

"People told me: 'You will make a complete mess if you go abroad so young'. But I have my own objectives and I have tried to match them.

"I want to play for a big club, be in the French team and be a great player.

"I dream of winning the Ballon d'Or. I hope to win it one day. There is no shame in saying that."

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Premier League table

# Team MP D P
1 12 +33 34
2 12 +13 25
3 11 +18 23
4 12 +11 23
5 12 +7 22
6 12 +6 22
7 12 +3 22
8 11 +0 15
9 11 -4 15
10 12 -9 15
11 11 +0 14
12 12 -2 13
13 12 -3 13
14 12 -5 13
15 11 -9 12
16 12 -12 12
17 12 -9 10
18 11 -12 9
19 12 -8 8
20 12 -18 5

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