Arsene Wenger rounded on Chelsea today and accused the Premiership leaders of ‘tapping-up’ Ashley Cole.
The Arsenal boss is incensed at their tactics, which are the subject of a Premier League inquiry.
Cole is reported to have met Chelsea officials at a London hotel with the prospect of moving across town.
Speaking after the 1-0 FA Cup victory against Bolton, Wenger said: “This case is very sad and very unfortunate because you expect your neighbours in the same city with that power not to behave like that.
“I am convinced that a meeting did take place - although that has not been confirmed.
“But I have to let the Premier League make an inquiry and make the right decision. The timing of that meeting was at least not very welcome.
“I want the Premier League to judge the case and be fair. It is down to them to take action.
“You cannot say it is normal that two days before we play Manchester United your players are tapped up.”
Cole was on the bench at the Reebok Stadium but Wenger said the defender's demotion had nothing to do with the inquiry.
“The reason was for medical reasons as he had hamstring problems,” said the Gunners boss.
“The fact that I didn't play him had nothing to do with the stories on the back pages.”