Police are ready to scrutinise the transfer deals that saw Samir Nasri move to Arsenal and Didier Drogba move to Chelsea in an investigation that has seen a dozen senior figures arrested across French football, reports The Times.
French authorities are attempting to clean up the sport after a significant rise in claims that matches had been fixed and kickbacks had been handed out as a result of a number of transfers.
Tuesday will be remembered as a historic day in French football after Vincent Labrune, the president of Marseilles, who currently lead Ligue 1, and his predecessors, Jean-Claude Dassier and Pape Diouf, were detained by investigators as transfer deals were scrutinised.
Police have justified the arrests as part of an investigation into the €18 million transfer France international striker André-Pierre Gignac. The in-form star moved from Toulouse to Marseille in 2010.
Gignac's agent at the time of the deal, Christophe d’Amico, is already serving a four-year jail sentence, served in November, for extorting money from nightclubs. Gignac is not a suspect in the current investigation.
Premier League deals
It is now reported that deals involving both Chelsea and Arsenal are currently being investigated. Nasri joined Arsenal for a reported fee of €16.8 million in 2008 while Drogba moved to Stamford Bridge in a €38 million deal in 2004.
Jose Anigo, Marseilles’ former coach, said in 2013 in telephone conversation tapped by police that only €10 million of Nasri's transfer fee ended up with the club, leading to suspicion of foul play.
La Provence, a daily newspaper in France, claims that the remaining funds had been paid to the player himself in exchange for him extending his contract by another year, allowing the club to demand a fee from the Gunners.
The same report suggests that Drogba's deal is also being investigated by police as a matter of interest but neither of the player's, like Gignac, are suspected of any wrongdoing.
All arrested persons have denied any wrongdoing.
Drogba went on to be a key player for Chelsea and is currently enjoying his second spell in west London. Nasri spent three years at the Emirates Stadium before leaving for Manchester City in a £24 million deal.
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