Former Arsenal manager, Arsene Wenger has revealed that Arsenal once tried to sign Lionel Messi from Barcelona but failed in their bid to lure him to England.
The Gunners were in their glory period of Premier League success and were in discussions with Barca over the acquisition of Cesc Fabregas in 2003.
Fabregas and Messi were teammates in Barca’s La Masia academy, and Wenger explained that he hoped to bring both players to north London.
But while Fabregas made the switch, a move for Messi proved nigh on impossible.
“We were in discussions with [Messi] when we bought Fabregas because Messi played [with him],” Wenger said (via Football 365 ).
“You can realise sometimes what fantastic youth teams you had before when you’re a club like Barcelona. In the same team, Messi, [Gerard] Pique and Fabregas.
“Pique and Fabregas came to England [with Manchester United and Arsenal respectively], Messi stayed in Spain. We were interested in him, but he was untouchable at the time.”
Messi has since gone on to win five Ballon D’or awards and become widely regarded by many as the greatest player to ever grace the game.
He even scored four against Arsenal in one match while Wenger was in charge during a Champions League tie in 2010.
Wenger has also recently revealed he has been in talks with personnel at his former club but is reluctant to return.
“I have been in touch with some people at the club but I felt when you go like that you cannot be half in, half out,” Wenger said.
“You let people who come in work their way. And I wanted to take a complete distance.
“It’s still a bit early, maybe, to go back. I haven’t been back at the club.”