Cesc Fabregas has revealed how Arsene Wenger played a key role in convincing him to quit Barcelona and join Arsenal ahead of Manchester United.
The Spaniard was 15 years-old when he was asked to come to London Colney for talks over a move, where both Arsene Wenger and David Dein met with him.
The former Arsenal captain revealed how he was amazed by the lengths that Wenger made to meet with him, with the Frenchman cutting short his holiday to fly back to London on a private jet for the meeting.
‘I was 15 and I was the captain of that team and I was well valued,’ Fabregas said.
‘On top of me there was (Andres) Iniesta and other players who had potential to make it. One day, a scout came from Arsenal to talk to my parents. And I always like to listen.
‘Even now, five years ago, I always listen to what people have to say. Out of respect, too. We did that and the guy told me he had been to watch me 50 times and that I was made to play for Arsenal and the Premier League.
‘When I went to London it was June and everyone was on holiday. Arsene Wenger was in Paris for holiday but he flew in a private jet to meet me. David Dean came to London Colney to meet me.
‘This shocked me in a way, like “wow, Arsene Wenger”, I am 15 years old, I am nobody and this guy is breaking up his holiday to meet me. This for me was like “wow”.
‘And then we are talking, he spoke to my mother, asked what I was like when I was little. He showed me the training ground and I just fell in love, I fell in love with the whole project, the whole thing.’
Fabregas was scheduled to take a second trip to Manchester a month later, which the Spaniard cancelled, as he had already decided on where his future would lie.
Cesc went onto break into the first-team fold at Arsenal in his second season with the club, impressing in Patrick Vieira’s absence in the Community Shield, before going onto start the first four league outings also.
Fabregas had already showed his potential in the previous season when making his debut in the League Cup, scoring his first goal for the club, before becoming an integral part of Arsenal FC.
Was Wenger’s role at the club under-rated? Should he still be at the club working on persuading talents like Cesc to join the club?