Lionel Messi is undoubtedly the best player to play for Barcelona. However, Arsenal once tempted him to join the North London club. The Argentine’s former agent Fabian Soldini has recently revealed this.
HOW CLOSE WAS MESSI TO JOINING ARSENAL IN 2003
The report reveals that in 2003 when Cesc Fabregas made a move to Arsenal, his childhood teammate Lionel Messi was also on Arsene Wenger’s target list. Soldini has revealed that Arsenal had their eyes on three players from the La Masia academy. These were Messi, Fabregas, and Gerard Pique.
While Wenger succeeded in landing Fabregas, Pique joined Manchester United six months later. Messi, however, stayed back in Barcelona.
WHY THE MOVE FELL THROUGH
The move to land Messi did not happen due to an alleged work permit complication. Soldini revealed this piece of news in a recent interview.
The former agent of Leo Messi told Marca, “[Messi] was tempted to go to Arsenal, but he didn’t go.” He added, “I remember the day that Cesc asked to leave [Barcelona]. Messi was also asked to go, but he didn’t want to leave.”
ARSENE WENGER’S PREFERENCE FOR YOUNG GUNS
Former Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger had an eye for young talent. He included several young players in his side during his regime at the North London club. Be it the legendary Thierry Henry or the flamboyant Robin Van Persie thrived under this legendary manager.
Messi has been an iconic figure in Barcelona for sure. It would have been interesting to see him play in the colors of another club.
WHEN MESSI’S LOVE AFFAIR WITH BARCA ALMOST CAME TO AN END
However, in the recent past, the unthinkable looked like a possibility as well. After Barcelona’s humiliating defeat at the hands of Bayern Munich, the Argentine was determined to leave the Catalan club. It looked almost certain until his father and current agent, Jorge Messi, intervened and settled things down.
ARSENE WENGER AND THE “FAILED” TRANSFERS
Arsene Wenger had confirmed in several interviews himself that he had tried to sign many iconic players for Arsenal. This list includes the name of the former Manchester United and Real Madrid star Cristiano Ronaldo as well. It would have been a sight to witness both Ronaldo and Messi playing for the same team, that too in the Premier League.
WHAT DOES THE FUTURE HOLD FOR MESSI AND BARCELONA?
Lionel Messi has been linked with a move away from the Nou Camp several times in his career so far. However, he has neglected all offers to stay back with the Catalan club.
It looked like he was quite close to moving away from his boyhood club and join Manchester City this summer. However, he will now stay in Barcelona for one more season.
So, it is quite clear that the Barcelona talisman was always willing to stay put at his current club against all temptations. Now 33, it is expected that he will end his career with the Blaugrana.