Arsenal complete Diaby swoop

January 13, 2006

Arsenal have confirmed the signing of French Under-19 international Vasiriki Abou Diaby for an undisclosed fee.

The 19-year-old central midfielder came through the youth ranks at Auxerre and captained the French side which won the Under-19 European Championship last summer, beating England 3-1 in the final in Belfast.

Manager Arsene Wenger feels Diaby can add an extra dimension to the Gunners squad.

'He is a strong midfielder and has shown huge potential during his time at Auxerre. He will be a tremendous addition to our squad.'

The fee is believed to be in the region of £2million, and Auxerre revealed rejected advances from Chelsea to sign a four-year deal with the Gunners.

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.'

Bourgoin added: 'The player has made the choice for Arsenal. And Auxerre, who do not like ruining the careers of our players, have reached an agreement with the club.'

Diaby said: 'I am so happy to have signed for Arsenal.

'The club has a great history and a squad which is full of high-quality players.

'This is a very exciting time for me and I am looking forward to a successful career here.'