Arsene Wenger apparently came extremely close to signing Barcelona star Lionel Messi…
Arsenal’s Arsene Wenger narrowly missed out on signing arguably the world’s greatest player Lionel Messi from FC Barcelona when he was just 16-years-old.
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The Frenchman tried to sign the Argentine from Barca’s La Masia academy in 2003, along with Gerard Pique and Cesc Fabregas, reports the Daily Mail.
Wenger missed out on Pique and Messi however, with the only stumbling block over the diminutive forward allegedly being his work permit.
The 27-year-old became a Spanish citizen three years later, but by this time his immense talent was clear for everyone to see and there was no chance of the Catalans letting him go.
Out of the trio of targets the Wenger only managed to convince Fabregas to make the move to London.
The transfer worked out in the short term for the Gunners, but the Spaniard eventually headed back for another unsuccessful spell with Barcelona before joining Chelsea in the summer – much to the fury of many fans at the Emirates Stadium.
Messi has gone on to win six La Liga titles and three Champions League trophies during his time at the Nou Camp, so the forward is unlikely to be regretting his decision to stay in Spain.