Wenger's fury over Edu deal

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The Independent Online

The Arsenal manager, Arsÿne Wenger, yesterday admitted that he felt "disgusted and cheated" over the Edufiasco and said that the £6m deal to sign the Brazilian was off unless there was a drastic change in circumstances.

The Arsenal manager, Arsÿne Wenger, yesterday admitted that he felt "disgusted and cheated" over the Edufiasco and said that the £6m deal to sign the Brazilian was off unless there was a drastic change in circumstances.

Wenger, revealing some of the background to the move, said: "We were assured before he came that he had all the necessary papers and qualifications. That was obviously not the case and we feel we have been cheated. Happily, he got caught. If he had got through then he would only have got into trouble when he next tried to leave the country, because then the problem would have been ours."

Edu, whose full name is Eduardo Daude Gaspar, was signed from the world club champions, Corinthians, in June on the understanding that he had Portuguese citizenship. He was stopped at Heathrow Airport, London, on 11 July when his Portuguese passport was found to be false and flew back to South America immediately.

"At the moment, both deals are dead," said Wenger, also referring to the move to bring another Brazilian, Edmilson, to Highbury. "It doesn't mean that they cannot be reactivated but we only agreed to take Edu if he had the right passport and it is now clear that he did not. His grandfather is Portuguese and he may still get the correct documents but I don't know how long that might take.

"I still believe the player, who was given the passport by his agent, was honest and did not know it was a fake. If I find out that he did, we will never see him again. We will be making a full inquiry but what is clear already is that any club could have been caught up in a story like this. I personally feel disgusted and we feel cheated as a club, but I cannot afford to waste my energy on that. So I will not be continuing with the deal for Edmilson now either because we do not want to risk the same thing again."

Wenger said that Arsenal have, at least, not been compromised financially by the Edu scandal. He insisted that the Gunners had not paid a penny of the agreed fee with the player's Brazilian club, Corinthians.

Wenger rejected reports suggesting that Arsenal's Nigerian forward Nwankwo Kanu would miss the start of the Premiership season because of the Sydney Olympics.

"He is not going to the Olympics," Wenger said. "He is back in London now and I have spoken to him and he has said there is no way he will go. It is his decision and his priority is with Arsenal for the coming season."

Meanwhile, the Football Association yesterday imposed their largest punishment yet for the breaching of betting rules. The Gillingham chairman, Paul Scally, has been fined £10,000 plus costs for having three separate bets on his then Second Division side during the 1998-99 season. In two of the bets he backed his team to beat Manchester City in the play-off final at Wembley, a game they lost.

Scally chose not to appear before the three-man commission in answer to the misconduct charge.

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