London:Arsenal signed France midfielder Lassana Diarra from Chelsea just ahead of the closing of European soccer's transfer window.
The Gunners paid an undisclosed fee for the 22-year-old midfielder late Friday, the last day on which European clubs are allowed to trade players until Jan 1.
Diarra played for Chelsea in last season's 2-1 League Cup final win over Arsenal and, having signed what the Gunners called "a long-term contract," could be an eventual replacement for the 30-year-old Gilberto Silva.
Gilberto Silva has been a key member of Arsenal's midfield for five years, but manager Arsene Wenger has a record of selling even star players once they reach the age of 30.
"Lassana is a multifunctional player, making him a great addition to our squad," Wenger said. "Not only is he hard working, he has a creative edge and is comfortable playing in the middle of the pitch or at right back."
Diarra, who has played three times for France, was young player of the year at both Chelsea and his previous club, Le Havre.
The move was one of the biggest in the Premier League on transfer deadline day.
Newcastle signed Senegal defenders Abdoulaye Faye and Habib Beye from Bolton and Marseille on three-year contracts, while Birmingham acquired Spain midfielder Borja Oubina from Celta Vigo.
West Ham signed Nolberto Solano from Newcastle on a one-year contract after the Peruvian winger said he wanted to be in London to be closer to his family, and the Hammers also got striker Henri Camara on loan for the season from Wigan.
Fulham bought former England midfielder Danny Murphy from Tottenham, and swapped defender Liam Rosenior for Reading midfielder Seol Ki-hyeon.