Mikel Arteta wants Lionel Messi to come to the Premier League – even if it means strengthening a rival.
Arteta is a boyhood Barcelona fan and has been following the Messi saga with interest with Manchester City seemingly winning the race to sign the Argentina superstar.
But Gunners boss Arteta says it would be good for English football if he arrived – and they should not fear Messi and should see it as a challenge instead.
Arteta said: “He’s been linked everywhere. He has more clubs than any other player in history after him.
“I’ve been a Barcelona fan since I was young so it’s always sad to see what in my opinion has been the best player in football history leave that football club.
“But, I don’t know, let’s see what happens and if he comes to England, we are all going to enjoy it.
“It doesn’t matter if it’s against Arsenal. It’s good for football. If it’s not there we might find him in the Champions League.
“You want the best players in your league. For me, that is the best thing as an athlete, to have the most competitive league in the world.
“The Premier League always had that. With Ronaldo, I played against him when he was great, it raises the level of every individual and every team as well.”
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Messi, 33, has already admitted he wants to leave the Nou Camp and City is the obvious destination to link up again with Pep Guardiola who was Arteta’s boss at the Etihad.
It would be a huge coup for City and bitter loss for Barcelona as Messi is regarded as the greatest player of all time.
City now appear to be in pole position but Barcelona have vowed to try and keep him even though Messi says he should be entitled to a free tarnsfer.
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