Auxerre have revealed Vasiriki Abou Diaby turned down an approach from Chelsea before agreeing to join Arsenal in a £2m deal.

Arsenal are believed to have agreed a deal for the 19-year-old, despite interest from their London rivals.

Auxerre vice-president Gerard Bourgoin said: “The choice belonged to Diaby.

“But Arsene Wenger was better than Jose Mourinho, that’s all.

“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

“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.”

However, Auxerre coach Jacques Santini seemed unhappy to have lost another player following the sale of striker Benjani Mwaruwari moved to Portsmouth last week.

“My managers sell. After Benjani and Diaby, I should maybe expect some more departures,” said Santini.

“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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