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Mikel Arteta says Lionel Messi would be welcome in the Premier League – even if it makes life harder for Arsenal.
Manchester City and Manchester United have both been linked with an audacious swoop for the six-time Ballon d’Or winner, who wants out at Barcelona.
But Arteta claims he has no problem with the Argentina superstar signing for a rival because it would just raise everyone’s game.
Arsenal boss Arteta said: "It doesn't matter. It's good for football if he comes. We'll have to find a way [to stop him]. If it's not here, we might find him in the Champions League, you never know.
"You want the best players in your league and for me that's the best thing, to have the most competitive league in the world. The Premier League has always had that.
"The times with Cristiano Ronaldo, I played against him and it was great because it raises the level of every individual and every team as well.
"Messi has been linked everywhere, you know? He has more clubs than any other player in history after him.
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Lionel Messi's Barcelona £1m-a-week contract explained – including huge bonuses
"Let's see what happens, if he comes to England we're all going to enjoy it."
Arteta, who started his playing career at Barcelona, also admitted he would be sad to see Messi leave his old club.
He said: "I've been a Barcelona fan since I was young and it's sad to see someone who in my opinion has been the best player in football history, leave that football club."
Arteta was speaking ahead of Arsenal's game against Liverpool in the Community Shield.
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