Arsenal defender Ashley Cole has reportedly told a Premier League inquiry that he had not arranged to meet representatives from Chelsea, but that they walked into the room while he was discussing contract negotiations with his agent.
The 24-year-old told the inquiry on Monday he was talking with his agent Jonathan Barnett when Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho and the club’s chief executive Peter Kenyon walked into the room.
Barnett previously denied setting up a meeting with Chelsea’s representatives.
Barnett had described the claims as: “Not only false but both appalling and offensive.
“For it to be suggested that I cynically set up a meeting with Chelsea and dragged them to it almost against their will is, quite frankly, ludicrous.
“When I gave my evidence to the inquiry I was respectfully reminded that the proceedings were confidential – and I have respected that.”
Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger said: “I am convinced that a meeting did take place – although that has not been confirmed.
“This case is very sad and very unfortunate because you expect your neighbours with that power not to behave like that.
“But I have to let the Premier League make an inquiry and make the right decision. The timing of that meeting was at least not very welcome.
“I want the Premier League to judge the case and be fair. It is down to them to take action.
“You cannot say it is normal that two days before we play Manchester United your players are tapped up.
“It is strange to me because it is just before big games.
“My desire is that Ashley Cole stays at the club, signs a new deal and one day becomes captain of the club. I want him to stay.”
Cole was on the bench at the Reebok Stadium but Wenger said the defender’s demotion had nothing to do with the inquiry.
“The reason was for medical reasons as he had hamstring problems,” said the Gunners boss.
“The fact that I didn’t play him had nothing to do with the stories on the back pages.”