Former Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has revealed that the Premier League side tried to bring Lionel Messi to the Emirates Stadium from Barcelona in 2003.
Wenger, who managed to stay 22 years at Arsenal, has revealed the Gunners were interested in Lionel Messi, Gerard Pique and Cesc Fabregas.
However, the North London side were only able to sign Fabregas as Pique opted to join Manchester United; while Messi remained at the Camp Nou.
“The story of Cesc Fabregas is that Franny Caggiano and Steve Rowley brought the player here and we had to convince him. I met Cesc’s parents and at the time we were interested in Messi and Pique as well,” Wenger told Arsenal’s official website.
“We tried for the three but of course it didn’t work out. But we got a gem there in Cesc and he is an exceptional player. A brain for football. [It didn’t work out with Messi and Pique] because of the agents. I think it was linked with Nike at the time and they wanted Pique to go to Man United.”
“With Messi, Barcelona didn’t want to lose him of course and they made [the offer] that was needed to keep the player at the club. I don’t really know if Messi was interested… I couldn’t get close to try to force the deal because Barcelona stopped that possibility very early.”
Wenger managed to win 17 trophies including three Premier League titles, 7 FA Cup and seven FA Community Shield.