Last year, Arsene Wenger said that Arsenal tried to sign Lionel Messi at the same time as Cesc Fabregas but the player had already reached ‘untouchable’ status with FC Barcelona.
Speaking to beIN SPORTS in September, Arsene Wenger explained that discussions took place about signing Messi, but it just wasn’t possible to convince Barcelona to sell their prize asset.
“We were in discussions with him when we bought [Cesc] Fabregas because Messi played [with him],” Wenger said (via TeamTalk).
“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.”
You have to imagine that a large number of clubs have tried and failed to make a dent in Barcelona’s resolve to hold onto arguably the greatest player of all time.
Nonetheless, after joining in 2001, Messi is closing in on the start of his third decade with the club. That seems to be enough for him, however, as he has made it clear he would like to leave.
In the end, for Arsenal, a player like Fabregas was a much more achievable target. That was in 2003. What hope do they have today despite being linked?