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Former Arsenal scout Francis Cagigao reveals the truth over Arsene Wenger’s move for Lionel Messi

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Arsenal's former head of recruitment Francis Cagigao admits talks were held over a move for Lionel Messi but says the deal was not as close as Arsene Wenger has suggested.

Their move ultimately collapsed due to 'work permit' issues and Messi went on to become Barcelona's greatest player and one of the most decorated players in history.

Wenger has claimed Arsenal were 'close' to signing Messi and while former scout Cagigao says that is a slight exaggeration, he admits talks were held.

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

Cagigao, who spent 24 years at Arsenal before leaving the club last month, also described former Gunners star Santi Cazorla as 'one of the most talented players' he has seen.

Cazorla spent six years at Arsenal - helping Wenger win two FA Cups - but injures plagued his spell in north London.

MORE: Lyon chief Juninho responds to Houssem Aouar to Arsenal transfer rumours.

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