Arsene Wenger has revealed that his former club held discussions with Barcelona to try and land Lionel Messi while Argentina international was still in the Catalan side’s youth team.
The former Gunners manager has a long list of stars who almost signed for the Gunners before going on to become world-beaters, with the Portuguese superstar Cristiano Ronaldo recently confirming he spoke to Arsene before opting to sign for Manchester United.
And now the French tactician has revealed that he spoke to Lionel about moving to the Emirates Stadium back in 2003 when the club poached Cesc Fabregas from Blaugrana’s famed La Masia academy.
Asked if he ever tried to bring Messi to London, Arsene told beIN SPORTS: ‘We were in discussions with him when we bought Fabregas because Messi played [with him].’
‘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.’
In other news, Arsenal are reportedly confident that Gabon international Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang will sign a fresh deal with the club.
The centre-forward has been a revelation since signing for the Gunners from Borussia Dortmund in the winter transfer market of 2018 – finding the back of the net on 44 occasions in 69 matches for the London club.
The 30-year-old star has also netted three times in four PL appearances this campaign – including the equaliser versus Tottenham Hotspur in the North London derby two weeks ago.