Arsene Wenger is a manager famous for coming achingly close to signing some of the most talented players in recent year. In fact, one of the biggest memes regarding the Frenchman is his “almost signing XI”, a dream-team lineup of the biggest names Le Prof almost landed during his spell at Arsenal.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Yaya Toure, Ronaldinho, and Suarez are just a few but the biggest name on this list, alongside Cristiano Ronaldo, is Lionel Messi. It’s no secret that the former Gunners manager had his eyes on the Argentine long before becoming one of the greatest players in history.
Wenger has talked about this incident before but the out-of-work tactician has now given more insight as to what occurred when he pursued Leo. The year was 2003 and right before the north London giants embarked on their Invincibles season, they landed a certain Spaniard named Cesc Fabregas from the Catalan giants.
However, the midfielder wasn’t the only Blaugrana talent Le Prof was eyeing. By then, Messi had caught his attention and the Premier League giants begun negotiations for the South American.
However, the Gunners soon found out that the soon-to-be five-time Ballon d’Or winner was off-limits.
“We were in discussions with [Messi] when we bought Fabregas because Messi played [with him],” said Wenger, as per the Daily Mail.
“You can realize sometimes what fantastic youth teams you had before when you're a club like Barcelona. In the same team, Messi, Pique, and Fabregas.
“Pique and Fabregas came to England, Messi stayed in Spain. We were interested in him, but he was untouchable at the time.”
And as the say, the rest was history. Messi ended up staying in Catalonia and is now a Camp Nou icon. It would have been great to see the five-time Ballon d’Or winner in England but it is unknown what his fate would have been at Arsenal had Wenger lured him to Highbury.