Diarra shunned Gunners
By Patrick Haond
Last Updated: 01/01/70 1:00am
Mahamadou Diarra has confirmed that he shunned a summer move to Arsenal.Lyon star Mahamadou Diarra has confirmed that he shunned a summer move to Arsenal.
The Mali international was widely known to be one of Arsene Wenger's top targets - following the sale of Patrick Vieira to Juventus.
However, Diarra opted to pen a new four-year deal with the French champions - rather than moving - with both Arsenal and Internazionale ready to take him.
"I think it was the most difficult moment of my career, I had a difficult choice to make," admitted Diarra.
"During last season, some clubs showed an interest in me, notably Internazionale and Arsenal, from which I accepted to listen to their arguments.
"It went even further with the first one than with the second, but at that moment, I have also considered the fact Lyon have become one of the greatest clubs in Europe.
"To leave, you have to be contacted by more important clubs in the hierarchy.
"The question was also to know if I really wanted to change team, country and atmosphere. As I feel so at home at Lyon, I finally decided to stay."
While Diarra stayed, his good friend Michael Essien opted to join Chelsea - but he feels he did the right thing.
"To me, Mike made the right choice," he admitted.
"Chances like Chelsea only happen once in a whole career.
"His case was different than mine, because Chelsea is not Internazionale. So it was the right moment for him to reach again a new level. I have always supported him to make this choice."