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Ex-Arsenal scout reveals how close Wenger came to signing Messi

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Former Arsenal head scout Francis Cagigao has revealed how close the Gunners came to signing Barcelona superstar Lionel Messi.

“I think Arsene stated while manager that we were close to signing Messi [in 2003].

“People would say he’s so small, he’s not the quickest, he’s not strong, but he has an exceptional football brain, exceptional technique and he’s a winner.”

Wenger has previously described Messi as “untouchable at the time” during their pursuit of him and Cagigao points to “issues with a work permit” as to why a deal couldn’t be completed.

Arsene Wenger, who has almost signed every footballer ever, was interested in Messi around the time of their most recent Premier League title win in 2003/04.

Cagigao added: “I think he is one of the most talented footballers I’ve ever seen.

He had issues with a work permit, so that was discarded.” In all his 24 years at Arsenal, Cagigao has picked out Santi Cazorla as “one of the most talented footballers” he has ever seen.
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