Arsene Wenger confirms Arsenal approach for Lionel Messi

Messi could have joined Arsenal. (©GettyImages)

Arsene Wenger has confirmed that Arsenal tried to sign a 15-year-old Lionel Messi along with Cesc Fabregas and Gerard Pique as part of a triple swoop on Barcelona's youth academy.

The Argentinian was virtually unknown across the world at the time but Arsenal scout Francis Cagigao knew what an exceptional talent he was. Along with Pique and Fabregas, Cagigao attempted a triple deal for the youngsters that, in hindsight, would have been beyond exceptional.

Guillem Balague spoke in detail about Arsenal's attempts in his book "Messi", suggesting that the only reason Messi did not move to north London was because Wenger refused to offer the player's family a place to stay.

"We wanted to take Fabregas, Messi and Pique. It worked only for Fabregas"

Wenger confirmed today that Arsenal did make an approach for all three players, but denied that Arsenal could have signed Messi had they offered his family accommodation.

The Arsenal boss told reporters: "We wanted to take Fabregas, Messi and Pique. It worked only for Fabregas.

"I think in the end he [Messi] was not so keen to move.

"It was not completely down to a flat in the end. It was down to the fact that Messi was comfortable at Barcelona."

Successful move

The move for Fabregas turned out to be a massive success. The midfielder spent eight years at Arsenal, becoming the captain in 2008 before eventually returning to Barcelona in a £35 million deal.

Messi, now 27, has remained at the Nou Camp for the entirety of his senior career so far. He has helped Barcelona to six La Liga titles and three Champions League triumphs. His career has also seen his break countless goal scoring records and win four Ballon d'Ors.

I always said that I'd like to stay there forever, but things don't always work out as you want them to"

Messi facing Barcelona exit

A move to England seems less than likely now with his release clause reported to be around the £200 million mark. However, he did suggest that he could be shown the exit door one day.

"I'm just living the present," Messi told Argentine sports paper Ole in an interview. "I'm thinking about having a great year at Barcelona and about winning the titles we want to win at Barcelona. Nothing more.

"After that, we'll see. Football has a lot of twists and turns. I always said that I'd like to stay there forever, but things don't always work out as you want them to."

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