AC Milan have beaten Arsenal to the signature of Valencia centre back Adil Rami with the Serie A side set to take him on loan.
The 27-year-old, capped 26 times by France, has been frozen out at the Mestalla after publicly criticizing Los Che coach Miroslav Djukic.
Rami’s outspoken stance resulted in the loss of a week’s wages and club suspension. His comments came as Valencia endured a struggling start to the season.
“This year we lost (David) Albelda, (Roberto) Soldado and Tino (Costa) – and now in the locker room we only have a bunch of players who don’t look at you in the face,” Rami told Spanish radio earlier this month.
“I don’t talk with Djukic. He’s the captain of the ship but we’ll see where we end up at the end of the season.”
A club statement followed, professing regret on Rami’s part, but also his punishment.
It added: “Regardless of the punishment, we have agreed to work together to find a satisfactory solution for both parties.”
That solution appears to be Rami’s exit from the Mestalla.
“With our permission, he underwent physical tests at AC Milan,” another Valencia statement said released on Wednesday.
Arsene Wenger was linked with bringing Rami to the Emirates Stadium this summer. His name has continued to be mentioned in connection with the Gunners as speculation surrounds the future of Thomas Vermaelen.
Manchester City were also rumoured to be interested in Rami, but Manuel Pellegrini moved for Argentine defender Martin Demichelis, who played under the Chilean at Malaga.
Rami will only be able to play for Milan when the January transfer window opens.
His part in the Lille side that won France’s Ligue 1 title in 2010-11 brought Rami recognition. Laurent Blanc began regularly using him in the French national team and Rami was on the Les Bleus roster that went to Euro 2012.