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‘Lionel was tempted to go to Arsenal’ – Messi’s former agent

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Lionel Messi

Fabian Soldini, who used to be Lionel Messi’s agent, has spilled some beans on the Argentine’s failed move to north London back in 2003.

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“[Messi] was tempted to go to Arsenal, but he didn’t go,” Soldini recalled in an interview with Marca.

“I remember the day that Cesc asked to leave [Barcelona]. Messi was also asked to go, but he didn’t want to leave.”

Speaking earlier in September, former Arsenal Head of Scouting Francis Cagigao revealed the extent of negotiations the Gunners had with Lionel.

“Discussions took place with his representative, but he had an issue with his work permit which at the time wasn’t even clear in Spain where he was, so that was discarded,” said Cagigao.

In 2003, Messi was 16 years old but was already considered a top talent. Last year, Arsene Wenger shed some light on the potential move for the Argentine.

“We tried, we were not near to signing Messi,” the Frenchman said in November 2019. “But we tried to sign Pique, Fabregas and Messi, of course, we already tried but he was already too big at the time.”

Messi has gone to win 6 Ballon d’Or awards at Barcelona and is widely considered to be the best player of his generation, alongside Cristiano Ronaldo. Many believe he is one of the best footballers to ever play the beautiful game. The scouting system Wenger built is currently being dismantled in favour of stats-based and agent-oriented approaches. One of the reasons for that is Brexit as the Gunners will no longer be allowed to sign Under-18 players from the EU – so raiding Barcelona Academy for a new Fabregas or Bellerin is out of the picture now.

Recently, Messi asked to leave the Catalan club and there were rumours of a move to the Premier League. We at Tribuna even came up with 2 suggestions how Arsenal could line up with Leo – obviously, just for fun.

However, while the star forward won’t be seen hanging around London Colney anytime soon, there is at least one Gunner who will enjoy playing in the same team with Messi. We’re talking about the newly-minted Argentina international, Emiliano Martinez, who is a Gunner at heart despite his recent transfer to Aston Villa.


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