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Football London
Football London
Laurie Martin

David Dein reveals what really happened with Ashley Cole's Arsenal to Chelsea transfer

Ashley Cole's controversial move from Arsenal to Chelsea was the transfer story of the summer of 2006. Cole's switch across London nearly happened a year earlier, but a deal was on August 31, 2006.

The left-back signed for Chelsea for a fee of just £5 million, with William Gallas making the switch from Stamford Bridge to the Emirates Stadium as part of the deal. The rest is history - Cole went on to establish himself as arguably the world's best left-back, winning a Champions League, a Premier League title and four FA Cups during his time at the Blues.

Arsenal fans were angry with Cole for moving to their London rivals, as they highlighted financial gain as the main incentive behind his move. However, former Gunners vice-chairman David Dein has revealed that the club could have, and should have, done more to keep Cole in north London.

READ MORE: Arsenal's Premier League squad confirmed as Bukayo Saka and William Saliba absence explained

"We should never have lost him in my opinion," Dein told talkSPORT.

"His contract came up for re-negotiation and we didn't offer him the right sort of money, meanwhile, Chelsea did.

"I got a call one day from a journalist from the News of the World at the time, and he said 'we've got a hot story off the press, your player Ashley Cole is being tapped up by Chelsea. I think you should come and see us.'

"I went down to their offices and they said 'here's a signed statement from a waiter at a restaurant where Ashley Cole is meeting Chelsea'. He was an Arsenal fan, the waiter, clearly, and he gave the story to the News of the World and broke it there and then.

"That was the end of that and it really was a great shame because Ashley was home-grown, an Arsenal boy, and I regret that we didn't do enough at the time to keep him at the club. It was also at a time where we were talking about building the stadium and finances, so tensions were raging about how we were going to finance the stadium and we were watching every penny.

"We didn't go enough to keep him, and I regret that with hindsight. Ashley, if you're listening, I'm sorry."


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