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Arsene Wenger lifts lid on moment Arsenal made move for “untouchable” Lionel Messi

Lionel Messi

The Gunners (opens in new tab) made a swoop to pick up 16-year-old midfielder Cesc Fabregas from the Catalan club’s famed La Masia academy in 2003.

Wenger admitted that the Premier League club were keen to sign Argentina's star-in-the-making with former club-mate Fabregas, but he was already considered indispensable by Barça (opens in new tab) at the time.

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“We were in discussions with Barcelona when we bought Fabregas, because Messi played [with him],” Wenger told beIN SPORTS. (opens in new tab)

“You can realise sometimes what fantastic youth teams you had before when you're a club like Barcelona. In the same team: Messi, [Gerard] Pique and Fabregas.

“Pique and Fabregas came to England, Messi stayed in Spain.

“We were interested in him, but he was untouchable at the time.”

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Alasdair Mackenzie is a freelance journalist based in Rome, and a FourFourTwo contributor since 2015. When not pulling on the FFT shirt, he can be found at Reuters, The Times and the i. An Italophile since growing up on a diet of Football Italia on Channel 4, he now counts himself among thousands of fans sharing a passion for Ross County and Lazio.