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Ex-Arsenal scout Cagigao: We looked at Messi, but...

Arsenal's failed attempt to sign Lionel Messi when he was a youth star has been revealed.

The Gunners famously attempted to bring Messi to North London when Arsene Wenger was still in charge.

The club had been working to secure Cesc Fabregas in 2003, when Messi also became the subject of their interest.

Now, former Arsenal scout Francis Cagigao has spoken about the matter.

"The first time I saw him was in Lloret de Mar, at the MIC tournament, when he just turned 15. He was already a phenomenon. Messi's situation was not regulated and it was impossible for him to have a work permit in the UK," Cagigao told AS.

"He had several meetings with Horacio Gaggioli, his representative at the time, but it was impossible. The Piqué thing was not done due to a somewhat complex bureaucratic issue. In the end we signed Cesc Fábregas from that great Barça cadet team.

"There is an Arsenal before Wenger and another after him. The current Arsenal could not be understood without his presence there for so many years. That's why he has a statue in the stadium.

"I think he revolutionized English football when he arrived and he is the most successful coach in the club's history, winning three leagues, eight cups, being a Champions League finalist... and he did it with budgets that today would be considered ridiculous."

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