Arsene Wenger has revealed he tried to sign Barcelona stars Lionel Messi and Gerard Pique but blamed the pair’s agents for failing to get a move to Arsenal over the lines. The Frenchman left Arsenal at the end of last season after nearly 22 years in north London with the Gunners.
Wenger’s work in the transfer market during his first seven years in England was exquisite with the legendary boss exploiting his knowledge of the French market. One of Wenger’s biggest coups was convincing Cesc Fabregas to leave Barcelona at the age of 16 but the Frenchman’s revealed he tried at the same time for Messi and Pique but failed.
The story of Cesc Fabregas is that Franny Cagiago and Steve Rowley brought the player here and we had to convince him,’ Wenger told Arsenal’s official website.
‘I met Cesc’s parents and at the time we were interested in Messi and Pique as well. ‘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.’
ique joined Premier League rivals Manchester United and won the Premier League and Champions League before rejoining Barcelona. Messi, of course, has spent his whole career at the Nou Camp and has scored 563 goals in 669 appearances for the club.
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