Gunners have £17 million bid rejected for 'new Lionel Messi'

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Arsenal have had a 20 million euro bid rejected for Croatian starlets Sime Vrsaljko and Mateo Kovacic, according to their club Dinamo Zagreb.

The talented pair, 18 and 16 respectively, have been touted as stars of the future but their current club believe their development is best served in their home country.

A whole host of other Premier League teams had been linked with their signatures recently, including Liverpool and Tottenham.

But an Arsenal delegation traveled to Zagreb last week and made a firm £16.9 million offer for the wonderkids, of whom one has been dubbed 'the new Lionel Messi', that was turned down point blank.

Dinamo’s club president Zdvravko Mamic told Sportski Zumal. Sharp: “Ten days ago we had an special visit in Zagreb.

"Here were people from Arsenal and they were ready to pay 20 million Euros for Vrsaljko and Kovacic.

"But they are to stay in Dinamo, Arsenal just wanted to buy them for the future. But my answer was sharp, I said 'no' in one second.

"While I have space and no problems at our bank account I can take a risk. Yes, I know I'm playing with luck but so far I am winning. I believe it will be the same in the future."

Gunners manager Arsene Wenger is known to be an advocate of bringing young talent to the club and nurturing it but Arsenal are unlikely to re-visit their offer, which they feel sufficient enough.

Spurs were thought to be more than enough competition for their North London rivals due to the strong contingent of Croats already at White Hart Lane.

Liverpool have also been rumoured to be interested and their new owners, NESV, would have been advocates of an offer from the Anfield club after their suggestion Roy Hodgson concentrated on bringing younger players to Anfield.

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