Cesc Fabregas has explained in detail what happened at possibly the most important junction of his career so far; when Arsenal attempted to convince him to leave Barcelona and join them in north London.
Of course, everyone knows that the then 15-year-old moved to Arsenal, eventually breaking into the first-team and becoming one of the club's youngest ever captains. But few realise the scale of Fabregas' original decision.
He left the comfort of his hometown where he was enjoying a close relationship with the likes of Gerard Pique and Lionel Messi, both of whom had already rejected the chance to join the Gunners.
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But Arsene Wenger realised what a special talent Fabregas was and pulled out all the stops to try and convince him that his career would be best served at Highbury.
The player himself, now of Chelsea, has told the full story of how Arsenal's interest developed, revealing talks with both David Dein and Wenger as well as the notable fact that the Gunners had scouted him 48 times before finally making the definitive move.
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"They had seen me about 48 times before speaking to me," Fabregas told Goal.
"There were many things that made me go to Arsenal. I was really happy in Barcelona but I saw how players like Messi and Pique were moved up to the youth 'A' team and Rodolfo [Borrell] wasn't there anymore."
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Once Arsenal had made their interest known, they invited Fabregas to London for talks. The youngster didn't know what to expect and was shocked to see both Dein and Wenger in attendance at the meeting.
During that discussion, Wenger laid out an ambitious plan to fast-track Fabregas into first-team football. It was an offer out of the blue, but one the Spaniard simply couldn't refuse.
Pulling out the stops
“We were received in person by Arsene Wenger and the vice-chairman David Dein,” he said. “They proposed training with the first team in the first year.
“I understood nothing. What were they doing with a kid like me? It was summer, why weren’t they on holiday?
"I was stunned that they stopped everything for a simple schoolboy from Barcelona"
“They wanted me to move up to the first team within a short time, they believed in me very much but I still couldn’t make out if they were selling me a dream. It was true that Wenger had interrupted his holidays in France to see me and make me the offer in person. That was decisive and we decided to take that route. And everything was phenomenal after that.”
"It was true that Wenger had interrupted his holidays in France to see me and make me the offer in person. That was decisive and we decided to take that route. And everything was phenomenal after that.”
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