MIKEL ARTETA has high hopes for Lionel Messi’s sensational Paris Saint-Germain switch following the end of his 17-year Barcelona spell.
And the Arsenal gaffer believes Messi will be a “dream” to see at the Parc des Prince club where the Spaniard spent a season and a half on loan 20 years ago.
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Arteta, 39, was speaking days after Messi, 34, made headlines with his Ligue One move and ahead of the Gunners’ shock loss to Prem newbies Brentford.
And the Emirates chief, who netted five times in 53 PSG appearances in a 17-month stint from 2001 to 2002, reckons the transfer will put the club under a bigger international spotlight.
When quizzed by Sky Sports on what the Argentina skipper would bring to his new team, Arteta replied: “Excitement and attention.”
The Gunners chief added: “It’s incredible and it will be a dream to watch them, how they play.
“And straightaway yesterday you could see everyone in Paris how exciting it is when they realised he is going to be there.”
Messi bagged six Ballons d’Or during his illustrious Barcelona career and won 27 major trophies with the Catalan giants.
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The Argentine’s silverware wins include four Champions League crowns and ten LaLiga titles.
And his football career has seen him share a similar club journey to Arteta.
The Arsenal boss, who began his coaching career at Man City, started his life as a pro player in Barcelona’s reserves in July 2000 before moving to PSG in January 2001.
Meanwhile, Messi spent three years shy of two decades at the Nou Camp where he netted 672 goals to become the club’s highest scorer.
However, the club’s financial burdens coupled with new monetary rules for LaLiga derailed Barca’s hopes of tying Messi down to a new contract.
While the team’s fans have been left gutted by the departure of their former skipper, Arteta believes the playmaker’s decision to leave was financially necessary.
The Copa America winner’s move will see him reunited with former Nou Camp team-mate Neymar and with PSG boasting an attack including the duo and Kylian Mbappe.
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The Gunners chief added: “He’s the best ever on the planet
“He was raised in Barcelona to similar parts to where I was and to let him go the way it happened is sad.
“But it tells you that there is no club exempt of a financial crisis and, as sad as it is, it probably had to be in the position to do it, to save the club.”
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