Arsenal nearly signed Messi, admits Wenger

Arsene Wenger has revealed Arsenal were close to signing Lionel Messi but insists the Argentine wanted to stay at Barcelona.

The Gunners were in the running to sign Messi from Barcelona’s academy in 2003 when the forward was 16 years old and had not yet made his first-team debut for the Spanish club.

Arsenal did manage to secure Cesc Fabregas from Barcelona in September 2003 but Messi joins Paul Pogba, Eden Hazard, Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Yaya Toure on the list of players who were close to a move to north London.

“It’s true, it’s just that he [Messi] didn’t want to move,” Wenger told reporters.

“In the end, he was comfortable at Barcelona.”