Ashley Cole would not have left Arsenal for Chelsea if the Gunners had not gone back on their word, according to his agent Jonathan Barnett. The left-back left the north London club and made a switch to Stamford Bridge, while William Gallas moved in the opposite direction.
Barnett played a crucial role in Chelsea tapping up his client. He held a secret meeting with Jose Mourinho and Peter Kenyon, the Blues' then chief executive in a hotel in London. Cole's agent was fined £100,000 ($153,195) and was banned from all football activities for nine months.
The former England defender's representative admitted making mistakes in his career as an agent. However, he went on to claim that Cole's decision to leave Arsenal was the best thing that happened to the left-back.
"I think I made mistakes. But I also think I was harshly treated. I was made a scapegoat, because it goes on all the time. Also, if Arsenal hadn't gone back on their word, Ashley would have stayed 100% and that would never have happened," Barnett told the Guardian.
"I'm not justifying it, but explaining it. But it was probably the best thing that ever happened to Ashley Cole. Arsenal won nothing, he won everything and financially he was much better off. My job as an agent was done."
Cole left the west London club as a free agent after the end of the 2013/14 season. He joined AS Roma later that summer and has won the Champions League, the Europa League and the domestic competitions during his time at Stamford Bridge.
Meanwhile, Arsenal star Aaron Ramsey has expressed his delight at helping Wales qualify for next summer's European championship in France. A defeat for Israel against Cyprus helped Wales seal a berth in the first major tournament since the 1958 World Cup, despite their 2-0 defeat to Bosnia & Herzegovina.
"What a great moment for Welsh football. What an achievement to make history. We are finally going to a major tournament. It's not going to sink in for a while," Ramsey told Sky Sports.
"I'm just so proud personally and for all my team-mates. For everyone associated with the country we are finally going."